As Colombia debates a settlement to long-running internal political conflicts, sport is increasingly seen as a powerful instrument for social inclusion and community development. Despite fiscal austerity, the government, through sports institute Coldeportes, has been promoting sport for all. According to a mid-2015 report by Forbes magazine that examined public sector sports budgets across 20 Latin American countries, Colombia was ranked fourth by total spending. Brazil was ranked in first with $842.4m - the lion’s share because of preparations for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games - followed by Mexico with $233m, Chile with $213m and Colombia with $169.3m. According to the report, the 20 countries were spending a combined $1.9bn on sporting venues, infrastructure and the training of athletes. The development of sport in Colombia has important spillover effects on the economy, with a number of sectors benefiting, including tourism, transport, hotels and restaurants, and the textile industry, among others.
This chapter includes an interview with Andrés Botero, Director, Administrative Department of Sport, Recreation, Physical Activity and Use of Free Time.