Roger Noriega

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For other people named Noriega, see Noriega (disambiguation).
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]


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


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]

In 2000, Noriega played a key role in the transition in Haiti following the overthrow of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Noriega was a vocal critic of the undemocratic actions undertaken by the Aristide government and represented the United States in public debates at the OAS about efforts to promote democracy and human rights in Haiti. Aristide's successor as president was the chief of the Supreme Court, in accordance with the Haitian Constitution. The Haitian Parliament chose Gerard Latortue as the new prime minister, who came to office despite the fact that he was living in Florida at the time. Amid rampant violence and chaos, Noriega worked with Brazil, Chile, and the United Nations to deploy the MINUSTAH peacekeeping mission to provide security until these internal security responsibilities could be assumed by Haiti's government. Noriega stated the U.S. Congress: "Now we can make a new beginning in helping Haiti to build a democracy that respects the rule of law and protects the human rights of its citizens." 7 After Noriega's involvement, Haiti has undergone a series of democratic transitions.[citation needed]

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."[3]

Noriega was a major force behind the Bush Administration’s policy towards Cuba and Venezuela.[4]

In 1996, Noriega co-authored the Helms-Burton law which tightened the 40-year-old embargo on Cuba.[5]

In April 2002, Noriega was Ambassador to the OAS during the temporary ouster of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez; although critics alleged U.S. support for the ouster, a Department of State investigation proved this allegations to be unsubstantiated.

Noriega resigned from the State Department in 2005 to join the private sector.[6] In 2009, he was hired as a U.S. lobbyist by an organization of the private sector of Honduras during the 2009 Honduran constitutional crisis when then President Manuel Zelaya was ousted for attempting to side step the Honduran constitution.[7] The private sector group sought to explain the origins of the constitutional ouster of Zelaya, who rendered himself ineligible for public office for defying the prohibition on reelection and sought to organize a plebiscite outside the framework of the Honduran constitution.

Since leaving office, Noriega has written on Western Hemisphere issues, including a claim that Iran has helped Venezuela start their own secret nuclear program.[8]

As Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs under President George W. Bush,[9] Ambassador Noriega was responsible for managing U.S. foreign policy and promoting U.S. interests in the region.


  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. ^ Duncan Campbell (18 May 2005). "Mojitos in Miami". The Guardian. 
  4. ^ Joshua Kurlantzick (November–December 2004). "The Coup Connection". Mother Jones. Retrieved 20 August 2010. 
  5. ^ Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon (7 October 2009). "Leader Ousted, Honduras Hires U.S. Lobbyists". New York Times. 
  6. ^ Pablo Bachelet (30 July 2005). "Outspoken Latin America envoy resigning". Miami Herald. 
  7. ^ Ginger Thompson and Ron Nixon (7 October 2009). "Leader Ousted, Honduras Hires U.S. Lobbyists". New York Times. 
  8. ^ Noriega, Roger F. Chávez's Secret Nuclear Program Foreign Policy Magazine, 5 October 2010
  9. ^ 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.