Vanessa Neumann (born 1972) is a Venezuelan-American business owner, author and political theorist. She is the president and founder of Asymmetrica, a political risk research and consulting firm headquartered in Washington, DC. Neumann served for four years on the OECD's Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, and is a current consultant to UN Women on gender-based approaches to preventing and countering violent extremism. She is the author of the 2017 book Blood Profits: How American Consumers Unwittingly Fund Terrorists.
Vanessa Neumann was born in Caracas, Venezuela to Michal (Miguel) Neumann (1947-1992) and Antonia Donnelly (1947-2015). Miguel Neumann was the son of entrepreneurs Hans and Milada Neumann, who emigrated from Czechoslovakia to Venezuela in 1949. Antonia Donnelly de Neumann was an American of Irish and Italian descent. Neumann's grandfather, Hans Neumann, co-founded Corimon (Corporación Industrial Montana), which had its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange on March 23, 1993, and Fundación Neumann, a philanthropic foundation with the twin missions of cultural education and poverty alleviation programs. They also established the Instituto de Diseño Neumann, and were co-founders of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Sofia Imber and the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administración (IESA), which, under the guidance of Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, taught American business administration. For a quarter century, Hans Neumann was also the major shareholder of the Mustique Company, which owns the island of Mustique. He also owned two newspapers in Venezuela: the English-language The Daily Journal, and Tal Cual. Mila Neumann was given the Order of Francisco de Miranda. Miguel Neumann founded Intercomunica, which produced a television series interviewing political leaders on the world stage and a series of books on Venezuelan cinema and culture. Miguel Neumann also owned the Spanish winery Vega Sicilia.
As a child in Caracas, Neumann was educated at the Santiago de León and then the Humboldt Schule, where she learned German.
Neumann received her B.A. (1994), M.A. (1998), M.Phil. (2000) and then Ph.D. (2004) from Columbia University, for her dissertation, "Autonomy and Legitimacy of States: A Critical Approach to Foreign Intervention," under the tutelage of Rawlsian scholar Thomas Pogge.
In the 1990s, Neumann worked as a journalist in Caracas for English-language newspaper The Daily Journal, and then in corporate planning and finance at Venezuelan petrochemicals conglomerate Corimon, the time of its ADR listing on the NYSE. After receiving her B.A.in 1994, she interned under Venezuela's Minister Counselor for Petroleum Affairs at the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, DC, and was part of the team that brought the first case before the World Trade Organization. She then returned to the private sector and New York City to work as a purchasing agent at Blue Channel Chemicals, which negotiated bulk purchases of raw materials for Corimon.
While pursuing her doctorate, she volunteered for UNICEF for four years, starting in 2001, raising funds from individual and corporate donors and traveling to Tanzania to coordinate with the local health administration on tetanus vaccinations. At the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) in Canberra, Australia, in 2006, she supported Thomas Pogge's research into reform of the global institutional order for the alleviation of extreme poverty. While working as adjunct assistant professor of philosophy at Hunter College of The City University of New York, she was also an analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, where she conducted research into Latin American security, particularly the role of Venezuela in providing haven and funding for the FARC narco-terrorist group. She became editor-at-large for Diplomat, a UK magazine on diplomacy in the UK and EU. In 2009 - 2010, Neumann worked in the field in Colombia on the reintegration of paramilitaries. In 2013, the year Vanessa Neumann, Inc. became Asymmetrica, Neumann was the academic reviewer for the United States Special Operations Command (SOCOM) teaching text on counterinsurgency in Colombia.
Neumann's academic talks are centered on three areas of research: Venezuela, crime-terror pipelines, and foreign investment (particularly from China) in the Latin American energy sector. She is also a cited expert on illicit financial flows from Chinese counterfeiting.
Neumann is a native Venezuelan commentator on politics and a vocal critic of the Chávez and Maduro regimes, and she cites organized crime conducted by them as a cause of oppression in her native Venezuela. Her book Blood Profits: How American Consumers Unwittingly Fund Terrorists has drawn support from exiled Venezuelan opposition leaders and she cites organized crime by the Maduro regime as a cause of the economic collapse and human rights violations in her native Venezuela.
Neumann has published articles in The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Beast, The (London) Sunday Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Weekly Standard, Standpoint and many other publications. She appears regularly on CNN, CNNE, Fox Business, Al Jazeera, NTN24, GloboTV, and other networks. She is a regular guest on Varney & Co.. Her written work has been used by the Department of State and the American Enterprise Institute. Neumann's research on Venezuela and crime-terror pipelines has been cited in Matthew Levitt's book Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon's Party of God (Washington, DC: Georgetown UP, 2013) and Louise Shelley's Dirty Entanglements: Corruption, Crime and Terrorism (New York: Cambridge UP, 2014), among other works.
Neumann founded Asymmetrica in New York in 2010 as Vanessa Neumann, Inc., a consultancy conducting research and government affairs to counter illicit trade and finance. It was renamed Asymmetrica Limited in 2013. It is part of the research network for the UN Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate. Asymmetrica has expanded to help private clients identify reliable partners and bridge relationships across Western Hemisphere industry and governments, and build detailed risk scenarios for investment funds totaling over $1 trillion AUM. In September 2017, Asymmetrica shifted its headquarters to Washington, DC.
- Global Counter-Terrorism Research Network (GCTRN), United Nations Security Council, New York, NY. Since 2015.
- Fellow, Global Justice Program, Yale University; New Haven, CT. Since 2014.
- Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy Research Institute; Philadelphia, PA. Since 2011.
- Associate, University Seminar on Latin America, Columbia University; New York, NY. Since 2010.
Neumann dated Sir Michael Jagger in 1998. Their relationship ended in 2002. She was later engaged to Scottish landowner William Stirling. Neumann married William Cash, son of Sir William Cash, a British Conservative politician and Member of Parliament for Stone. They divorced in 2010.
Vanessa Neumann is a passionate horseback rider and a certified open water, advanced deep water diver. In January 2014 she attained her PADI certification as an enriched air diver, known as nitrox diving.
- Neumann, Vanessa (2017). Blood Profits: How American Consumers Unwittingly Fund Terrorists. St. Martin's Press. ISBN 978-1-250-08935-9.
- Wolper, Allan (June 30, 2017). "Dr. Vanessa Neumann: Blood Profits, Terrorism, International Drug Trafficking". WBGO.
- Wolper, Allan (December 15, 2014). "Conversations With Allan Wolper". WBGO – via Public Radio Exchange.
- "Asymmetrica". Asymmetrica.
- OECD (2016). Illicit Trade: Converging Criminal Networks. OECD Reviews of Risk Management Policies. Paris: OECD Publishing. p. 7. doi:10.1787/9789264251847-en. ISBN 978-92-64-25184-7.
- "Overview". Grupo Corimon.
- Haskell, Rob (January 17, 2017). "Why the Jet Set is Obsessed with Mustique, the World's Most Glamorous "Healthy Addiction"". W.
- Aitkenhead, Decca (February 2, 1997). "A Tale of Two Communities". The Independent. London.
- Barker, Dennis (August 29, 2010). "Lord Glenconner obituary". The Guardian.
- Mount, Ian (July 19, 2014). "A Family Feud, Uncorked in Spain". The New York Times.
- "Doctoral Dissertations Supervised or Co-Supervised – Thomas Pogge". campuspress.yale.edu. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- "London It Girls Jemma Kidd and Vanessa Neumann showing their support of UNICEF's 'Growing Up Alone' campaign at The Sheraton Park Towers, wearing special tee-shirts designed by Maya Fiennes". Getty Images.
- Ryan, Susan (March 26, 2002). "'I wrote a cheque but couldn't stop there'". The Daily Telegraph.
- "After Hugo Chávez: China's Strategic Advance in Venezuela". American Enterprise Institute.
- "Dr. Vanessa Neumann". S.H.E. Summit.
- Neumann, Vanessa (August 16, 2017). "Neumann: Venezuela está regida por un cartel de drogas, no por un gobierno".
- Neumann, Vanessa (December 28, 2017). "Vanessa Neumann: Venezuela vive las consecuencias del crimen organizado".
- Neumann, Vanessa (December 28, 2017). "Presentaron Blood Profits, un texto sobre crimen organizado en Venezuela".
- "Crime-Terror Pipelines: The Case of Iran and Latin America". Foreign Policy Research Institute.
- "Trans-Atlantic Dialogue on Combating Crime-Terror Pipelines: Dismantling Converging Threat Networks to Strengthen Global Security". 2012.
- "Vanessa Neumann, President and CEO of Asymmetrica, to Discuss Illicit Trade, Organized Crime and Terror Groups at Rutgers University-Newark" (Press release). Rutgers Today.
- Neumann, Vanessa (April 12, 2012). "China in Venezuela American Enterprise Institute".
- Neumann, Vanessa (May 1, 2012). "China goes shopping in latin america".
- Neumann, Vanessa (December 25, 2017). "Take a Tour of the Red-Hot Center of Chinese Counterfeiting".
- "The Crime-Terror Panorama: Converging Threat Networks Across the Global Illegal Economy/Criminalized Markets and Their Impact on National Security". U.S. Department of State.
- "Dr. Vanessa Neumann". Division of Global Affairs. Rutgers.
- "Never Mind the Age Gap: let's hope it's third time lucky for William Cash". Evening Standard. London. September 2, 2013.
- Vanessa Neumann Official Website
- Asymmetrica website
- Vanessa Neumann on Yale University Global Justice Program website
- Vanessa Neumann on Foreign Policy Research Institute website
- On US-Cuba relations.
- In Council on Foreign Relations publication Foreign Affairs on the collapse of Chavismo in Venezuela.
- On Al Jazeera about the collapse of Venezuela.
- In The New York Post on Venezuela.
- Cited by the Council on Foreign Relations.