Thursday, March 13, 2014

Bogotá's British Moment

Bogotá's not going to become a British colony, or change its official language to English. But a flurry of events have made this a somewhat British moment for Colombia's capital.

Thanks Avianca. Recently, Avianca started non-stop flights between Bogotá and London. A long haul.

Business is Great. The UK government is marketing the country as a gateway to Europe for Colombian businesses.

The UK set up a website promoting trade between the two countries.

And, not long ago, Britain's education ministry opened an office in Colombia to recruit students for UK universities.

Despite the distance between them, Colombia and Britain's ties go way back. The British sent a British Legion to fight against Spain alongside Simon Bolivar's armies. (There is still a British Cemetery in Bogotá, beside the Central Cemetery.) Later, British recognition of the newly independent states was crucial in their being recognized by other nations.

Colombia and Britain have warm relations today in part because of geopolitical and geographical coincidence. London argues that history and population trump geography in its claims to the Falkland Islands, which are located off of the coast of Argentina, which also claims the islands and calls them the Malvinas. Using somewhat similar historical arguments, Colombia claims the San Andres archipelago, off of the coast of Nicaragua, which has a rival claim to the islands.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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