Colombian ambassador and her hutong walks

Colombian Ambassador to China Carmenza Jaramillo
Photos: Courtesy of Carmenza Jaramillo

Coffee, ‘Gabo’ (Gabriel García Márquez), biodiversity and emerald are four key words used by the Colombian ambassador to China to distinguish her South American country from others.

Carmenza Jaramillo, who was appointed ambassador to China in 2012, devoted herself so much to work that she can hardly find a photo about her Beijing life.

"My life is work, work and work," she said.

In a short interview with the, the former consul general in Hong Kong shared her diplomatic life in China and the prospects of China-Colombia cooperation.

Sino-US: Before you were appointed as ambassador to China, what was your impression about China? How did you get to know China?

Carmenza Jaramillo (CJ): Working in Hong Kong between 1991 and 1993 as consul general of Colombia gave me the opportunity to travel to the People’s Republic of China for the second time. The first was in 1981 and I had a very special impression of the country, so when I came to Hong Kong I decided to make a real approach to the Chinese culture.

I became really fascinated by the culture in 1991 when the country was witnessing notable economic growth, so my first impression was very positive. I knew that China was going to become a relevant country on the international stage very soon because of the reform and opening-up initiated by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s.

When I came back in December 2012, I noticed a lot of changes in the country and a real evolution in the cities. I love how Beijing mixes both the modern and the traditional architecture to achieve a perfect balance of a harmonious city. What China has accomplished in just 34 years is a lesson that many countries need to learn. Even if there are some challenges that the country still needs to resolve, the great contribution of the economic growth to the Chinese people is admirable.

Since my arrival, there have been a number of events that I have had the opportunity to witness: generational change in the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the creation of more than 10 million new jobs, a tireless fight against corruption within the Party and possibly I will be able to witness the Asian giant perhaps emerge as the world’s leading economic power at the end of this year.

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