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Colombia Geopolitical Interests
Sources: The Library of Congress Country Studies; CIA World Factbook
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    AT-33 at Military Air Base, Apiay
    Courtesy Lloyd W. Mansfield


    Navy Aero Commander, Cali
    Courtesy Lloyd W. Mansfield

    Although by the 1980s Colombia had not developed a distinctive geopolitical doctrine, such concerns did exercise some influence in the formation of the country's foreign and military policies. Colombia shares land borders with five countries--Panama, Venezuela, Brazil, Peru, and Ecuador. The country also has lengthy coastlines on the Pacific Ocean and in the Caribbean Sea. United States military planners also have considered Colombia to be important because of the latter's proximity to the Panama Canal, a classic geopolitical choke point.

    In the late 1980s, Colombia's two dominant geopolitical concerns centered on its claims to sovereignty over the San Andrés and the Providencia archipelago, islands lying off the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua, and over maritime territory lying off the Guajira Peninsula and in the Golfo de Venezuela (see Relations with Latin America , ch. 4). Both of these disputes were caused by vaguely defined territorial limits dating from the colonial epoch. In 1988 the Nicaraguan government maintained its claim to the islands but accepted Colombia's de facto occupation of the island chain. Colombia's conflicting claim with neighboring Venezuela, in contrast, had on several occasions brought the countries to the brink of war. The possibility that the Colombian maritime claims included seabed oil deposits helped maintain the dispute. These two areas of conflicting territorial claims continued to reflect the national will to maintain control over, if not expand, Colombia's national territory.

    Data as of December 1988

    NOTE: The information regarding Colombia on this page is re-published from The Library of Congress Country Studies and the CIA World Factbook. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Colombia Geopolitical Interests information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Colombia Geopolitical Interests should be addressed to the Library of Congress and the CIA.

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Revised 10-Nov-04
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