El Tiempo, September 14, 2019
(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)
Philip Goldberg, the new Ambassador of the United States in Colombia, arrived last Saturday in Bogotá to replace Kevin Whitaker as the top representative of Washington to the Casa de Nariño (Presidential Palace).
Goldberg, who is considered to be a conservative career diplomat in the U.S. State Department, had been nominated for the position by U.S. President Donald Trump in May and was confirmed by the full Senate this past August.
This will be the third time that Goldberg has occupied a diplomatic post in the United States Embassy in Bogotá. More than twenty years ago he served as Assistant Director for Legislative Affairs, and later he took over as coordinator of Plan Colombia, the anti-narcotic strategy that the United States funded from 2001 until 2015.
During the hearing on his confirmation, Goldberg, who speaks fluent Spanish, stated that it would be an “honor” to return to Colombia, a country with which the United States shares “a commitment to democracy, security, and prosperity.”
Born in Boston in 1956, Goldberg was US Ambassador in La Paz (Bolivia) from 2006 to 2008, when the President of Bolivia, Evo Morales, declared him persona non grata and expelled him from the country. At that time, Morales accused Goldberg of conspiring against the Bolivian government.
Also, between 2010 and 2013 the diplomat served as Deputy Undersecretary of State for Intelligence and Investigation. Between 2013 and 2016 he served as Ambassador to the Philippines. In August of 2016, two months before he left that post, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte lashed out at the United States diplomat because he had criticized the jokes Duterte made about the rape and murder of an Australian missionary in a prison in that country.
In his most recent diplomatic post, he was in charge of commerce in the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, the highest-ranking post that exists in diplomatic relations between those two countries. In that post, where he started in February 2018, he remained for six months.