Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on Tuesday appointed his country’s new ambassadors to China and Cuba.
Santos appoined the current president of clothing company Leonisa, Carlos Urrea, to the post of ambassador to China, and lawyer, historian and journalist Gustavo Bell Lemus to the position of ambassador to Cuba.
According to El Espectador newspaper, Santos described Urrea as a “shining light [and] one of the country’s most successful businessmen….whom I have no doubt will represent our country effectively”.
Urrea’s new role comes following the announcement by the current ambassador to China, Guillermo Ricardo Velez, that he planned to resign. Santos thanked Velez in his speech for the “magnificent” work he had done in China.
In addition to the appointment of the new ambassadors, Santos announced plans to open embassies in Indonesia, Trinidad and Tobago and Turkey. These new embassies will help develop Colombia’s relationships with other CIVETS countries, which are considered by economists to be the next group of emerging markets. These include Colombia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and South Africa.