Roger Noriega

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Roger Noriega
Roger Noriega.jpg
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
In office
July 31, 2003 – October 6, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Otto Reich
Succeeded by Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.

Roger Francisco Noriega (born 1959, Wichita, Kansas) is a U.S. diplomat and policy maker specializing in Western Hemisphere Affairs. He is a visiting fellow at the conservative think tank American Enterprise Institute. He was ranked one of "Newsmax's 50 Most Influential Latino Republicans" in 2016.[1]

Background[edit]

Born in Wichita, Kansas, he attended Washburn University in Topeka where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1982.

Career[edit]

Noriega has been involved in Latin American policy since the 1980s, when he worked in the Ronald Reagan administration's U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

Noriega served as the Senior Policy Advisor and Alternate U.S. Representative at the U.S. Mission to the OAS from 1990 through 1993, and as Senior Advisor for Public Information at the OAS from 1993 to 1994.

From 1994 to 1997, Noriega returned to Capitol Hill as a senior staff member New York Congressman Benjamin Gilman for the House Committee on International Relations. Subsequently, he became a senior staff member of Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) for the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. In 1996, Noriega co-authored the Helms-Burton law which tightened the 40-year-old embargo on Cuba.

Other tours of duty in the Department of State have been with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bureaus for Inter-American Affairs and Public Affairs, where he was a Program Officer from 1987 through 1990 and a Senior Writer/Editor from 1986 until 1987. Prior to that, he served as Press Secretary and Legislative Assistant for Congressman Bob Whittaker (R-Kan.), U.S. House of Representatives, from 1983 until 1986. President Bush also appointed Noriega to the Board of Directors of the Inter-American Foundation.

Noriega served as U.S. Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS)[2] from 2001 to 2003.

Foreign affairs[edit]

Upon entering the private sector as a lobbyist in 2005, Noriega went to work for Miami based law firm Tew Cardenas LLP, which, according to LD-2 reports filed in the second quarter of 2004,[3] was actively lobbying for the interests of free-market proponent organizations in Haiti.

At the time of Posada Carriles' reported presence in the U.S. in 2005, Noriega stated that the United States government was not then aware of his presence, saying that the controversy over his presence in the country, "may be a completely manufactured issue," and that Posada "might not have been in the United States."[4]

Noriega was a major force behind the Bush Administration’s policy towards Cuba and Venezuela.[5]

In 1996, Noriega co-authored the Helms-Burton law which tightened the 40-year-old embargo on Cuba.[6]

In April 2002, Noriega was Ambassador to the Organization of American States during the temporary ouster of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Throughout his subsequent career, he has continually lobbied U.S. representatives to pressure the Venezuelan government to show clemency to members of the opposition who helped stage the coup, such as Leopoldo Lopez and María Corina Machado, who received grants from the National Endowment for Democracy in order to pay legal fees and fund political activities in Venezuela.[citation needed]

Noriega resigned from the State Department in 2005 amid criticism from Senior State Department officials aiming to ease tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela[7] to join the private sector.[8][unreliable source?] Notable clients represented by Noriega include multi-billion dollar global hedge fund Elliott Management Corp, which Noriega assisted through “federal advocacy on behalf of US investors in Latin America”,[9] political interest group Moroccan American Center for Policy, providing assistance and support for the settlement of Western Sahara issue,[10] and Victor Alberto Venero-Garrido,[11] who was indicted in the United States and required to repay over $20 million to the Government of Peru in relation to an alleged $170 million in fraudulent real estate transactions he conducted with co-conspirators from the Peruvian Military, National Police, and Peruvian intelligence Chief Vladimiro Montesinos. In 2008, Noriega partnered with Venezuelan exile and former PDVSA & IMF employee Martin Rodil to form a private risk assessment and lobbying firm called Vision Americas, through which, in 2009, he was hired as a U.S. lobbyist by an organization of the private sector of Honduras during the 2009 Honduran coup d'etat when President Manuel Zelaya was ousted.[12] According to the disclosure form,[13] Noriega and Vision Americas were hired to "Support the efforts of the Honduran private sector to help consolidate the democratic transition in their country". Noriega had previously claimed that the democratically elected Zelaya posed a threat to the region because Honduras was ground zero in what he described as “the continued spread of Chavista authoritarianism under the guise of democracy”. Other lobbying activities conducted by Roger Noriega through Vision Americas include a $25,000 contract[14] in 2010 with Venezuelan firm Alodiga claiming to “support the client’s registration and regulatory issues”, and a $45,000 contract[15] in 2016 with the Haitian branch of global industrial, financial, supply chain, and telecommunications giant GB Group, owned by billionaire opportunist and prospector Gilbert Bigio which specified an initiative related to “educating U.S. stakeholders about the economic opportunities of a modern port system in Haiti”.

Since leaving office, Noriega has authored and promoted a variety of theories on Western Hemisphere issues, specifically centered around Venezuela's leftist government, including a claim that Iran has helped Venezuela start their own secret nuclear program.[16]

As Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under President George W. Bush,[17] Ambassador Noriega was responsible for managing U.S. foreign policy and promoting U.S. interests in the region.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Newsmax's 50 Most Influential Latino Republicans
  2. ^ David Gonzales (5 September 2002). "Western Hemisphere's States Support Unblocking of Aid to Haiti". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ "OPR Lobbyist Registration & Reporting". soprweb.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  4. ^ Duncan Campbell (18 May 2005). "Mojitos in Miami". The Guardian. 
  5. ^ Joshua Kurlantzick (November–December 2004). "The Coup Connection". Mother Jones. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  6. ^ Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon (7 October 2009). "Leader Ousted, Honduras Hires U.S. Lobbyists". New York Times. 
  7. ^ Brinkley, Joel (2005-07-30). "After Role Is Cut, State Dept. Official Quits". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  8. ^ Pablo Bachelet (30 July 2005). "Outspoken Latin America envoy resigning". Miami Herald. 
  9. ^ "OPR Lobbyist Registration & Reporting". soprweb.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  10. ^ "LD-2 Disclosure Form". soprweb.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  11. ^ "OPR Lobbyist Registration & Reporting". soprweb.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  12. ^ Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon (7 October 2009). "Leader Ousted, Honduras Hires U.S. Lobbyists". New York Times. 
  13. ^ "LD-1 Disclosure Form". soprweb.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  14. ^ "LD-2 Disclosure Form". soprweb.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  15. ^ "LD-2 Disclosure Form". soprweb.senate.gov. Retrieved 2017-03-27. 
  16. ^ Noriega, Roger F. Chávez's Secret Nuclear Program Foreign Policy Magazine, 5 October 2010
  17. ^ Tom Barry (5 January 2007). "Hawk for Hire". Counterpunch. Retrieved 24 June 2010. 

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Otto Reich
Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs
July 31, 2003 – October 6, 2005
Succeeded by
Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.