Consul General Angela Suarez restructures offices to serve 1 million Colombians here, looks ahead to trade agreement
Close to celebrating her first year on the job, Angela Suarez, the consul general of
Colombia based here, is focused on restructuring the consular office to better serve the one million Colombians in Florida.
The Coral Gables-based consular office represents all Colombians in the state with matters regarding visas, passports, certifications and other legal services.
One of her main priorities, Ms. Suarez said, is transmitting to the staff a love for serving the public, which she said the agency needs.
"If you love what you do, you do things well, and sometimes we are not doing things well because we forget we are here just to serve," she said.
Another priority is to get a better count of the number of Colombians residing in Florida, she said, and to create an open channel of communication with them to better serve their needs.
The 20-year veteran journalist was appointed to this post in December 2009, after President Alvaro Uribe asked her to take this seat, and she hopes to stay now that Colombia has a new leader, Juan Manuel Santos.
She expects to stay in this post under the new leadership, as she said she needs time to execute her long-term plans for the office.
Ms. Suarez said her journalism experience has helped her embrace this diplomat role because the main priority is the same — serving the community.
The free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia, which has been in the works for several years, could boost the economy and create employment, she said.
She said she hopes the agreement is signed next year, as it would help strengthen ties, especially in trade and tourism, between Colombia and the US. This is particularly true in Florida.
"I think the most interested in tying the ribbon is Florida, because Colombia is the second trade partner of Florida, after Brazil," she said. "Last year, we had business between Florida and Colombia that generated $5.5 billion."
Ms. Suarez discussed her plans and priorities with Miami Today reporter Yudislaidy Fernandez at Colombia's consular office in Coral Gables.
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