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Book launch, decoration and a relaxed conversation about the last 200 years

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

With the presence of Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, President of Colombia Ivan Duque and other high ranking officials from State Department of the United States, the Embassy of Colombia launch a history book about the Diplomatic Relations between the two countries.

The event organized by the Embassy of Colombia in collaboration with the National Museum of American Diplomacy closed a series of events commemorating the celebratory year for both Countries.

With positive and celebratory remarks, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken thank diplomatic personnel of both countries and highlighted the long and strong ties that both countries have had for the past 200 years: “Beyond history, we, of course, have been and continue to be enriched immeasurably by Colombia’s culture – the magical realism of Garcia Marquez, the art of Botero, the music of Shakira. Colombia is said to be the land of a thousand rhythms; I suspect Shakira is responsible for 999. (…)We came together – the United States and Colombia – and I see leaders of that effort in this room today. We undertook Plan Colombia. We ended half a century campaign to topple the Colombian Government, as well as a war that killed more than 200,000 people. Plan Colombia became Peace Colombia, and though many issues remain, Colombia has expanded access to education, to jobs, other social services in its rural areas, and to the country’s underserved communities, including Indigenous and Afro Colombian communities; reformed land laws; established institutions like the disappeared persons unit. Much work remains, but it is a remarkable thing, especially at a time of so much challenge around the world, to see the commitment – the enduring commitment – that Colombia has made to peace and progress”.

With the same tone, President Ivan Duque highlighted shared values and the deep connections that since Simon Bolivar United States and Colombia have been building: “(…)in 1807, Simón Bolívar departed from the Port of Cádiz and he was coming to the Americas with the idea of fighting for liberty. But instead of going directly to La Guaira that was the common trip that he would have made, he decided to stop in Charleston. And he remained in the United States for a few months, and it was during Thomas Jefferson’s mandate. About that trip, there are no important documents about what happened to Bolívar, with the exception that he ran out of money and his brother had to send some money, finding a carrier. But what is interesting is that years after, there was this amazing letter that Bolívar wrote to a Jamaican diplomat. And this has been recalled also by Professor John Lynch. And he said in the letter, “During my short stay in the United States, I tasted the flavor of liberal democracy.” Those were major words that also inspired Bolívar. And he fought for independence. We got our independence in 1819. Then he fought in the Venezuelan territory against Tomás Boves. He finally also built the independence of Venezuela. And then he started the southern campaign".

After President Duque remarks, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, invited as a panelist for the conversation about the relationship between the two countries, was surprised by the colombia leader when he announced a decoration for his service to Colombia. He was awarded with the 200 Year medal for his contributions to Plan Colombia when he was undersecretary of political affairs in the United States State Department.

Pickering served more than four decades as a U.S. diplomat. He last served as under secretary of state for political affairs, the third highest post in the U.S. State Department. Pickering also served as ambassador to the United Nations, the Russian Federation, India, Israel, and Jordan, and holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador.

The event, opened by Susan Cleary director of the National Museum of Diplomacy, continued with a relaxed conversation moderated by author Marie Arana, author, editor, journalist, critic, and Literary Director of the Library of Congress, and four experts: Mauren Orth, Joseph Humire, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Luis Alberto Rodriquez that talked about culture, defense, Plan Colombia and commercial Relations between the two countries.

Ambassador of Colombia, Juan Carlos Pinzon Bueno explained in detailed the content of the book highlighting the work of the team that under his leadership and in coordination with the Colombian Ministry of Culture and the Foreing Affairs developed the document with the support of well reknown academics like Stephen Randall, Fernando Cepeda, David Spencer and Jose Luis Ramirez.

The topics discussed in the conversation explained the content of the book "History of a Special Relationship Colombia and the United States 200 years" that was printed for selected audiences and has a digital version that will be complemented with historic documents, more pictures and other materials to be shared on social media.


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