President Juan Manuel Santos is set to confirm a childhood friend as Colombia’s new ambassador to Washington, W Radio reported Tuesday.
Carlos Urrutia will replace Gabriel Silva as Colombia’s top representative in Washington. On June 2 Silva announced his resignation after only two years in the post. Among Silva’s chief accomplishments was overseeing the final stages of the Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., which came into effect earlier this year.
The FTA with the U.S. was one of the major political items on the agenda of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. The challenge for Santos, who also supported the bilateral deal, will now be to show positive results from the agreement. As such, Urrutia’s one of Urrutia’s top priorities will be to persuade American businessmen to invest in Colombia.
The new ambassador will also be charged with advocating for Colombia’s relevance to U.S. lawmakers in Washington. The U.S. has had extensive involvement in Colombia over the past decade. During the first Uribe administration, for example, Colombia was the third greatest recipient of U.S. military aid. However, military aid has steadily decreased since then.
Although Urrutia has no diplomatic experience, he is a co-owner of Bogota-based law firm “Brigard & Urrutia Lawyers.” The company specializes in international transactions, mergers, acquisitions and litigation. Areas that are relevant to Colombian trade with the US.
Urrutia hails from the same Bogota elite as President Santos. Both come from the same generation and social group. In 2010, Urrutia openly supported Santos’ campaign for the presidency, yet is not readily identified as a partisan political operator. In addition to his native Spanish, Urrutia speaks fluent English and French.