For much of the nation's history, Colombians focused
consistently on domestic issues and political
personalities than on
world affairs. In the nineteenth century, Colombia limited
involvement in foreign affairs to sporadic border disputes
immediate neighbors (Venezuela, Panama, Peru, and Brazil).
and Venezuela began disputing boundaries after the breakup
Colombia (Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador) in 1830
(see Gran Colombia
, ch. 1). This territorial issue continued to
friction between the two nations into the twentieth
the first two decades of the twentieth century, the
Panama from Colombia in 1903 was a major source of
Colombia-United States relations
(see Relations with the United States
, this ch.). Colombia's boundary with Peru was
initially in 1922, but problems developed again in 1932
seized an area around Leticia in the Amazon Basin that
(see The Development of the Modern Armed Forces
, ch. 5). A
League of Nations commission resolved the conflict in
however, by suggesting a resolution that returned the
to Colombia. Brazil and Colombia reached agreement on a
dispute in 1928.
Colombia broadened its foreign policy after World War
becoming active among the Latin American states and small
general. It was an important participant in the 1945 San
Conference creating the United Nations (UN) and was a
opponent of the big-power veto in the Security Council.
argued successfully for a primary role for regional
whose recognition was secured under Article 51 of the UN
Colombia also played an important role in creating the
of American States (OAS) in Bogotá in 1948. Former
president Lleras Camargo was the OAS's first secretary
Nevertheless, even in the post-World War II era,
continued to view foreign policy within a limited context.
Colombia initiated international actions, they were
to complement more important national goals and were seen
extensions of domestic policy. After World War II,
foreign policy emphasized economic relations and support
collective security through the OAS and the UN.
Colombia pursued only limited objectives in bilateral
security and global politics, usually preferring
diplomatic approaches. Colombia's approach to security
been characterized by a willingness to settle disputes
through recourse to international law and regional and
international security organizations.
Data as of December 1988