Type of Work

Research Paper

Publication Date

Summer 8-15-2021


From the big screen to one’s living room, popular media has the power to influence how people in the 21st century perceive history, politics, and culture. With Colombia as one of the US’s closest allies in Latin America, this project examines the representation of Colombia and its people by American-made media through a two-step process. The first step analyzes four US presidential administrations and their corresponding foreign policy. The second step dissects a sample group of 16 films and television series on Colombia to correlate foreign policy with the evolving US-Colombian relationship and unveil further themes and methods that give insight into the representation of Colombia and Colombians before the American public. To find the extent to which policy interacts with the media, our project reveals that the media plots and objectives incorporate US-Colombian policy, reflecting the changes in goals throughout presidential administrations. The recurring themes found include: US Intervention and Superiority, Colombian Ties to Drugs, Shift from War on Drugs to War on Terror, Poverty and Regional Effects, and Economic and Government Corruption. Additional findings include the media’s tendency to utilize true stories, gender roles, and humor to produce Colombian stereotypes. This project makes sense of the magnitude of the media’s effects when representing a country and its people, as well as how politics play a significant role in shaping such media formation.

Hamilton Areas of Study

Government, Latin American Studies, Cinema and Media Studies

Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Heather Sullivan