The 8th Summit of the Americas will take place on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast, in the picturesque environs of Cartagena.
These summits take place every few years. In the summits the heads of states from countries throughout the Americas meet to discuss pressing issues in the development of the Americas, such as sustainable development, the economy of Colombia and the other countries and more. This year, over 10,000 people, including ministers, heads of states and more, will be in Cartagena to attend the event.
The event goes a long way to show how the image of Colombia is changing. The fact that all these leaders will be in Colombia demonstrates a huge shift in perception about the country: this place is no longer dangerous like it was 20 years ago, and even 10 years ago it might have been a stretch to suggest a city in Colombia as being the potential host for something quite as high-profile.
The fact that it’s in Cartagena might surprise some (why not Bogotá?), but for those familiar with Colombia the choice is an obvious one. Cartagena is far and away Colombia’s most popular tourist city, and the most accommodating to an event such as this. There’s a relaxing atmosphere, high-quality restaurants and plenty of luxury hotels. It is, for all intents and purposes, a jewel in the crown of Latin America.
Politically these meetings serve a great purpose, to bring together countries under a single title despite their heterogeneity, their various needs and their disparate politics. It allows a forum for democratic discussion (although currently there is a debate as to whether Cuba should be allowed to join) that potentially empowers countries that might be marginalised in other, more global forums.
For Colombians, though, it’ll be the pride of showing the world Cartagena that really marks the occasion. A chance to demonstrate that is Colombia, not what you’ve seen previously in the media.