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Colombia: Relations with Communist Countries
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > Foreign Relations > Relations with Other Nations


Throughout the post-World War II period, Colombia's international stance was based on consistent support of the United States against the Soviet Union and its allies. Colombia severed relations with the Soviet Union in the wake of the 1948 Bogotazo, amid accusations of Soviet complicity in the rioting. After reestablishing relations with the Soviet Union in 1968, Colombia made various commercial, scientific, and educational agreements with the Soviet Union and its allies. In early 1976, Colombia and the Soviet Union signed the Commercial Cooperation Treaty.

Colombia's relations with the communist nations of Africa and Asia were limited primarily to concern over these nations as economic competitors in the production of such primary commodities as coffee. For example, Colombia's relations with Angola during its civil war in late 1975 and early 1976 were influenced by the importance of coffee to both countries. President López Michelsen refused to condemn Cuba's involvement in the Angolan civil war and in 1976 recognized the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (Movimento Popular de Liberação de Angola -- MPLA) as that nation's government in order to maintain the good relations that both countries enjoyed as coffee exporters. Bogotá's relations with China remained cordial in 1988, but trade between the two countries was negligible.

Colombia's relations with Cuba have been strained since Castro seized power in 1959. From the early 1960s, when it helped to establish the National Liberation Army (Ejército de Liberación Nacional -- ELN), Cuba supported Colombian guerrilla groups Colombia actively supported OAS sanctions against Cuba in 1962 and the expulsion of Cuba from the OAS in 1964. Bogotá reestablished full diplomatic relations with Cuba in 1975, after the OAS reversed its policy of isolating the Castro government. Bilateral relations again declined, however, after the Sandinista victory in Nicaragua in mid-1979 when Castro renewed Cuba's support for insurgency in Latin America. During Turbay's administration, Colombia actively opposed Cuba by blocking Havana's attempts to secure a UN Security Council seat. In 1981, after Cuba admitted supporting a failed M-19 attempt to launch a rural insurgency, the Turbay administration broke diplomatic relations with Havana. In late 1987, an official Colombian commission recommended that the country renew diplomatic relations with Cuba but "without haste."

Data as of December 1988

Last Updated: December 1988

Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Colombia was first published in 1988. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on

Colombia Main Page Country Studies Main Page

Section 136 of 188


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