Patricia Eugenia Cárdenas Santamaría (born 1 April 1958) is a Colombian diplomat, businesswoman and engineer. She is the current Ambassador of Colombia in México. In the past, she served as Ambassador of Colombia to Brazil, Ambassador of Colombia to Japan and Non-Resident Ambassador to Singapore, and the Non-Resident Ambassador to Australia and New Zealand. An industrial engineer, she was President of the Banking and Financial Institutions Association of Colombia from 2000 to 2006.
She was born on 1 April 1958 to Jorge Cárdenas Gutierrez, former President of the National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, and his wife Cecilia Santamaría Botero. She married, and later divorced, Ricardo Sala Gaitán and together had three children: María Paula, Ana Daniela, and Juan Felipe.
Cárdenas is a qualified Industrial Engineer from University of Los Andes, Bogota. She obtained a Diploma in Economic Development from the University of Oxford in June 1985.
From 1982 to 1984, Cárdenas was the Administrative Director of the Research Institute SER. She became Head of the Planning for the Ministry of Finance and Public Credit's Economic and Fiscal Analysis Office in 1985 and from 1989 Advisor to Minister, Ministry of Finance and Public Credit.
In 1996, Cárdenas became Commercial Director, Naturandina Ltda, International Trading Co. She then entered politics from 1998 to 2000 as a City Council Member of Bogota D.C. In 2001 she became President of the Banking and Financial Institutions Association of Colombia, ASOBANCARIA.
Cárdenas has served on numerous boards as representative of the Minister of Finance including being the Joint Administrator of the Institute of Social Insurances, the Committee of Credit of the National Energy Finance, and the Plan of Integrated Rural Development.
From 1996 to 1997, she was on the Board of Fiduciary Bogotá, from 2000 to 2006 Crafts of Colombia as the representative of the President of the Republic, from 2001 to 2006 the Board of the National Fund of Guarantees Co Ltd. She was also on the Board of Latin American Federation of Banks - FELABAN from 2002 to 2006, and the Modern Art Museum of Bogota from 2004-2006. Cárdenas was a member of the Directive Council of the University of Los Andes.
On 19 December 2006, President Álvaro Uribe Vélez appointed Cárdenas Ambassador of the Republic of Colombia to the State of Japan accredited as Non-Resident Ambassador to the Commonwealth of Australia, the Republic of Singapore, and New Zealand. Cárdenas presented her Letters of Credence to Emperor Akihito of Japan on 17 March 2007 at a ceremony at the Tokyo Imperial Palace, to Major General Michael Jeffery, Governor-General of Australia, on 31 May 2007 at Government House, Canberra, to Sellapan Ramanathan, President of Singapore, on 26 July 2007 at the Istana, and to Sir Anand Satyanand, Governor-General of New Zealand on 17 July 2007 at Government House, Wellington.
In 2008, Colombia reopened its Embassy in Australia and named Diego Betancur Álvarez Ambassador of Colombia to Australia, formally taking the representation of Colombia to Australia and New Zealand from Ambassador Cárdenas who remained Ambassador to Japan and Singapore.
Cárdenas was appointed Colombia's ambassador to Brazil in March 2014.