Herman Jay Cohen

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For other people named Herman Cohen, see Herman Cohen (disambiguation).

Herman Jay "Hank" Cohen (born February 10, 1932) served as the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 1989 to 1993. His lobbying firm, Cohen and Woods International, has represented the governments of Angola and Zimbabwe. He brokered an end to the Eritrean-Ethiopian War in 1991.[1]

Career synopsis[edit]

Cohen, born in New York City in 1932, received a BA in political science from the City College of New York in 1953. He then joined the United States Army, serving until 1955. He received an MA in international relations from American University in 1962. He worked as a professor at Johns Hopkins University before his appointment to the post of United States Ambassador to Gambia and Senegal in 1977, serving until 1980. He later served as the U.S. National Security Council Africa Director and from 1989 to 1993 as the U.S. Official Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. His most recent post was in the World Bank.[2]

He is affiliated with the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the French Legion of Honor.[2]

Angola[edit]

Cohen observed the Angolan presidential election of 1992 and concluded the election had been "free and fair," a conclusion in stark contrast to most observers and human rights organizations which found massive electoral fraud. According to Cohen, Jonas Savimbi of UNITA, the leading opposition candidate, told Cohen prior to the election that he would not accept defeat, that he would revive the war with the MPLA.[3] Following the death of Jeremias Chitunda, the Vice President of UNITA, on November 2, 1992, Cohen speculated Chitunda may not have been murdered. Chitunda and two of his aides were pulled from their car and shot in the face. According to Cohen, the incident may have been an "accident."[4]

In 1993 Cohen resigned from his office. He registered with the Justice Department as a foreign agent of the Angolan government. When his firm's contract with the government ended, he went to work for the Mugabe government of Zimbabwe.[4]

Quotes[edit]

"Essentially, the collection process of the CIA is a vacuum cleaner. It takes in everything that they get, and they shove it off to Washington, whether it is garbage or whether it is high quality. And I remember when I was in Senegal, I saw a piece of paper coming across my desk. It was a CIA report. And I said this is garbage. Why are we sending it? And I called in the station chief and I said, Why did this go to Washington? And he said, Well, we are a vacuum cleaner. We take everything in and we send it to Washington. It is up to the people in Washington to decide what to do with it."[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Research Notes of Dr. Aleme Eshete: The C.I.A. in Africa". 
  2. ^ a b "Herman Cohen". 
  3. ^ Lucier, James P. (April 29, 2002). "Chevron oil and the Savimbi problem". Insight on the News.  April 29, 2002. Insight on the News
  4. ^ a b Lucier, James P. (April 29, 2002). "Chevron oil and the Savimbi problem". Insight on the News.  April 29, 2002. Insight on the News.
  5. ^ "Testimony of Herman ("Hank") Cohen: Hearing of the commission on the roles and capabilities of the United States Intelligence Community". 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Orison Rudolph Aggrey
U.S. Ambassador to Gambia
1977 – 1980
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Orison Rudolph Aggrey
U.S. Ambassador to Senegal
1977 – 1980
Succeeded by
Political offices
Preceded by
Chester A. Crocker
United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
1989 – 1993
Succeeded by
George Moose