Look North: A Short History of US-Colombian Relations

For 200 years the two countries have partnered in mutually beneficial projects on a range of economic and security matters.

Colombia is among the United States’ closest allies in the Western Hemisphere. For the past 200 years, the two countries have partnered in mutually beneficial projects on a range of economic and security matters. Any disagreements they’ve had were short-lived and relatively easily resolved. The key to understanding this unique and lasting partnership is understanding the role geography plays in their relationship. Located on the northern coast of South America, Colombia sits on the southern base of the Caribbean Basin. The Andes’ three distinct mountain ranges run the full length of the country, covering roughly half its territory. (The other half is composed of the Amazon and Orinoco basins.) The mountains make east-west transport difficult and expensive, while the Amazon forest in the south discourages mass settlement and development. For this reason, Colombia’s population is concentrated in mountain valleys, in disconnected cities, and along rivers and the coast. These disjointed parts of the country are integrated through the Magdalena River; indeed, it’s estimated that three-quarters of the population lives near this river or one of its tributaries, which also facilitate the transport of goods between the interior and the Caribbean port cities of Barranquilla and Cartagena. Colombia has access to […]

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Allison Fedirka
Allison Fedirka is the director of analysis for Geopolitical Futures. In addition to writing analyses, she helps train new analysts, oversees the intellectual quality of analyst work and helps guide the forecasting process. Prior to joining Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Fedirka worked for Stratfor as a Latin America specialist and subsequently as the Latin America regional director. She lived in South America – primarily Argentina and Brazil – for more than seven years and, in addition to English, fluently speaks Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Fedirka has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and international studies from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in international relations and affairs from the University of Belgrano, Argentina. Her thesis was on Brazil and Angola and south-south cooperation.