About the Task Force
The Atlantic Council’s US-Colombia Task Force, co-chaired by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ben Cardin (D-MD), is a nonpartisan, binational, and multi-sectoral group created to strengthen US-Colombia diplomatic and economic ties. Through timely expert insights, it advances whole- of-society solutions with broad support in Colombia and the United States to address the most challenging policy issues affecting Colombia, while also promoting US interests in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
The Task Force will build on the work of the Atlantic Council’s 2019 US-Colombia Task Force and 2017 Peace and Prosperity Task Force. Both Task Forces laid the groundwork for strengthened US-Colombia cooperation and provided a roadmap for a modernized bilateral agenda.
- Broaden understanding on aforementioned bilateral issues among key constituencies in Colombia, the United States, and LAC.
- Advance a platform through which key stakeholders (policymakers, private sector leaders, and civil society members) in Colombia and the United States can reach consensus on US-Colombia cooperation moving forward.
- Provide innovative and evidence-based recommendations to strengthen and deepen US-Colombia ties, and identify broader opportunities for public-private and multi-stakeholder collaboration that advances both country’s economic, political, and security interests.
- Move the needle on critical discussions regarding US-Colombia relations by regularly engaging policymakers and promoting constructive and substantial exchange between legislatures in both countries.
Official Task Force reports
Members of the US-Colombia Task Force
About the members
Cynthia J. Arnson
Cynthia J. Arnson is a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center Scholars and former director of its Latin American Program. She is a widely recognized expert on Latin American politics and international relations, including US policy in the Western Hemisphere. She has testified multiple times on Colombia and Venezuela before committees of the US Congress. A former policy aide, Arnson also held positions at Human Rights Watch and in academia.
Minister Carolina Barco
Amb. Carolina Barco formerly served as Colombia’s foreign minister from 2002 to 2006, Colombia’s ambassador to the United States from 2006 to 2010, and ambassador to Spain from 2019 to 2020. Barco was a consultant for eight years with the Inter-American Development Bank.
Rand Beers is the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Before becoming the Acting Secretary, Beers concurrently served as the Department’s Counterterrorism Coordinator. Beers served on the National Security Council Staff under four Presidents as Director for Counter-terrorism and Director for Peacekeeping Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs and Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Combating Terrorism.
Senator Roy Blunt
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) has been a US senator for Missouri since being elected in 2010. Blunt chairs the Senate Republican Policy Committee, serves as the top Republican on the Senate Rules Committee, and is a member of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
Ambassador William Brownfield
William Brownfield is a career ambassador for the US Foreign Service. He previously served as the assistant secretary for drugs and law enforcement during the last seven years of his diplomatic career. Amb. Brownfield was US ambassador to Chile, Venezuela, and Colombia, and has received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award and the Presidential Performance Award three times each. He has been a non-resident senior advisor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program since 2018.
Senator Ben Cardin
Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) has represented Maryland in the US Senate since 2007 and before that in the US House of Representatives. He works to integrate good governance, transparency and respect for human rights in American foreign policy. Cardin is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Enrique Carrizosa is the Chairman of the Board of IC Holdings. Their business invests and operates in a multitude of sectors including real estate development, power generation, technology, financial services, and the food industry. Carrizosa has a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from Northwestern University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. He lives in Bogotá with his family.
Andrés Cadena leads McKinsey’s Strategy & Corporate Finance, Financial Services, and Public Sector Practices in Latin America and heads the McKinsey Center for Government in the region. He directs the firm’s work in Latin America on sustainable cities and economic development. Since joining McKinsey, Cadena has led more than 250 client projects, with a focus on national and local governments, multilateral organizations, financial institutions, and consumer-goods companies. Cadena serves on the boards of multiple nonprofit organizations that focus on education, economic development, and social services in Colombia.
Representative Dan Crenshaw
Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) has represented Texas’ second congressional district since 2018. In Congress, he serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has the broadest jurisdiction of any legislative committee. Dan serves on the Health Subcommittee and the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee. Crenshaw also serves on the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis.
Rosario Córdoba is the president of Grupo Argos’ board of directors and served as president of the Private Competitiveness Council until July 2021. Previously, she worked at Fedesarrollo as an editor and Coyuntura Económica as an associate researcher. She was part of the Commission of Experts for Equity and Tax Competitiveness.
Stephen Donehoo leads the McLarty Associates’ work in Northern Latin America. He is also the firm’s lead on intelligence, national security, and defense related issues. He is a former military intelligence officer specializing in Latin America who provided strategic policy advice on the region while serving at the White House, Office of the Secretary of Defense and the US Southern Command. Donehoo was raised in Colombia, has lived in Costa Rica, Panama, and El Salvador.
Representative Ruben Gallego
Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) has represented Arizona’s seventh district in the US House of Representatives since 2014. Gallego is a Marine Corps combat veteran, a lifelong community leader, and the son of Hispanic immigrants. Representative Gallego has largely focused on U.S. national security in his time in Washington. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, he has led the response to Russia’s attack on NATO, maintaining the European Deterrence Initiative following President Trump’s efforts to cut the vital defense program. Gallego is also a member of the House Natural Resources Committee.
Muni Jensen is a political analyst and senior advisor at Albright Stonebridge Group-Dentons Global Advisors. She previously worked at the Colombian Embassy in Washington, D.C., focusing on public affairs, trade and congressional affairs, and press. She has worked at Cali Chamber of Commerce division of International Trade and as vice president for market intelligence of Proexport Colombia in Bogotá. She received an M.A. in Latin American Studies from Georgetown University.
Minister Maria Claudia Lacouture
Maria Claudia Lacouture is the executive director of the Colombian-American Chamber of Commerce and president of Alianza de Asociaciones y Gremios (Aliadas). Lacouture previously served as the minister of commerce, industry, and tourism of Colombia, following her position as president of ProColombia from 2010 to 2016. Lacouture is a columnist at the La República newspaper.
Maria Victoria Llorente
María Victoria Llorente is executive director of Fundación Ideas para la Paz (FIP). Before joining FIP in 2007, she worked as an associate researcher of the Center for Studies on Economic Development at the Universidad de Los Andes from 1998 to 2006, where she coordinated the Public Peace Studies Group, which conducted multiple research projects on violence, security and justice in Colombia. She has also worked as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Colombian National Police Force and the Office of the Mayor of Bogotá on several projects related to citizen security policies, prevention of juvenile delinquency, and police reform. She earned a political science degree from the Universidad de Los Andes.
The Hon. Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty, III
Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty has been chairman and co-founder of McLarty Associates since its establishment in 1998 and serves as chairman of the McLarty Companies. He previously was President William J. Clinton’s chief of staff, where he helped enact the North American Free Trade Agreement. McLarty was appointed as special envoy for the Americas in 1997.
Bruce Mac Master
Bruce Mac Master is the president of Colombia’s National Business Association (ANDI). Prior to this role, he served as the first director of the Social Prosperity Department of Colombia. Mac Master was also the vice minister of finance in Colombia, and mayor of Cartagena. He has been an investment banker for more than 20 Years at Inverlink which is also the first Colombian investment bank.
Jason Marczak is senior director of the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center, which he joined in 2013 to launch the center. Marczak has over twenty years of expertise in regional economics, politics, and development, working with policymakers and private-sector executives to shape public policy. Since 2016, Marczak is an adjunct professor at The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs. He was previously director of policy at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas,
cofounder and senior editor of Americas Quarterly magazine, and has held positions in the US Congress. Marczak has testified on US-Colombia relations in the US Senate.
Ambassador P. Michael McKinley
Amb. Michael McKinley is a former US ambassador to Colombia, Afghanistan, Brazil, and Peru. As ambassador to Colombia, McKinley helped finalize the entry into force of the bilateral free trade agreement between the United States and Colombia and provided support for Colombia’s peace negotiations. His articles have appeared in Foreign Affairs, the Financial Times, and Politico. McKinley is a non-resident senior advisor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Americas Program.
Representative Gregory Meeks
Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY) has been the congressional representative for New York’s 5th District since 1998 and is the first Black member of Congress to serve as chair of the House Foreign A-airs Committee. He is also a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee and chairman of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions.
Alejandro Mesa has been a partner at Baker McKenzie since 2008. Since joining Baker McKenzie in 1995, he has focused on the energy, mining and infrastructure sectors. He is a highly regarded practitioner in project finance transactions, being recognized for his advisory and representation work for American and European companies in the Colombian market. Due to his experience working with Colombian government entities, he has advised major clients seeking to participate in government procurement procedures or to structure distribution channels in Colombia. He obtained his law degree from Universidad de Los Andes.
Ambassador Roger Noriega
Ambassador Roger Noriega has more than three decades of public policy experience focusing on U.S. interests in the Western Hemisphere. After a 10-year career on Capitol Hill, he was appointed by President Bush to senior State Department posts. As U.S. assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Noriega managed a 3,000-person team in Washington and 50 diplomatic posts to design and implement political and economic strategies in Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Previously, he served as U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States. On Capitol Hill, Noriega counseled Congressional leaders on all aspects of U.S. interests in the Americas and helped draft historic legislation including blueprints to hasten democracy such as Plan Colombia, and advance anti-drug efforts.
Juan Esteban Orduz
Juan Esteban Orduz was appointed president of the Colombian Coffee Federation in New York, in August of 2003, after ending a year as fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University. Previously, he served as minister plenipotentiary and deputy chief of mission of the Embassy of Colombia to the United States in Washington, D.C. where he was deeply involved in the design and implementation of Plan Colombia and the extension of trade preferences. An attorney and specialist in finance, he has been legal vice president of Cementos Mexicanos Cemex, in Colombia, and associate attorney at Consultores Jurídicos y Económicos, working on trade and foreign investment issues in Colombia.
Ambassador Anne Patterson
Ambassador Patterson was the assistant secretary for Near Eastern and North African Affairs at the Department of State (2013-2017) before being appointed to the Dow Jones Special Committee in April 2018. She served as US ambassador to Egypt, Pakistan, Colombia, and El Salvador. Patterson also served as assistant secretary of state for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs and deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. She is currently a senior fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale and a member of the Commission on National Defense Strategy.
Kristie Pellecchia is the founder and principal at Pellecchia International, a relationship-focused financial advisory firm that offers bespoke capital solutions and strategic consulting on a global basis, with a particular focus on the Latin American region. She previously led the Western Hemisphere portfolio for the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Before joining the DFC, Pellecchia spent 16 years at multinational financial institutions with a focus on the Americas, most recently as managing director at SMBC and previously as director at BNP Paribas. She has an MBA in finance from the Wharton School and a BS in industrial engineering from Lehigh University.
Alejandro Santo Domingo
Alejandro Santo Domingo is the president of Grupo Santo Domingo. He also serves as senior managing director at Quadrant Capital Advisors in New York City. Santo Domingo is a member of the board of Anheuser-Busch InBev and SABMiller Plc. Santo Domingo is chairman of the board of Bavaria S.A. in Colombia and Valorem, a company which manages a diverse portfolio of industrial and media assets in Latin America. He is a member of Harvard University’s Global Advisory Council (GAC). Santo Domingo is a member of the board of trustees of the Mount Sinai Health System.
Michael Shifter is a senior fellow and the former president of the Inter-American Dialogue. Shifter held senior positions at the Dialogue for nearly three decades. Prior to joining the Dialogue, Shifter directed the Latin American and Caribbean program at the National Endowment for Democracy and, before that, the Ford Foundation’s governance and human rights program in the Andean region and Southern Cone, where he was based, first, in Lima, Peru and then in Santiago, Chile. Since 1993, Shifter has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, where he teaches Latin American politics.
Angela Maria Tafur
Angela Maria Tafur is the executive director of the Association for Private Capital Investment in Latin America (LAVCA). She is a founding member and chair of the board of Give to Colombia (G2C), a US-based philanthropic platform that has channeled more than $26 million to Colombia and improved the lives of more than 3 million people. Tafur is also a trustee of G2C UK, a charity based in the United Kingdom that seeks to support sustainable projects in Colombia and Latin America, and a trustee for the Nature Conservancy.
Dr. Arturo Valenzuela is professor emeritus of government at Georgetown University. An authority on the consolidation and breakdown of democracy, Latin American politics, and U.S. Latin American relations, he served as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs in the first Obama Administration. In Clinton’s second term, he was senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, where he directed the formulation and execution of Plan Colombia. Previously, he was responsible for US –Mexican relations at the Department of State. A member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Council of Foreign Relations, he serves on the boards of several international non-profits.
Jorge Mario Velásquez
Jorge Mario Velásquez is the president and CEO of Grupo Argos, an infrastructure holding company in the Americas. Prior to this role, he served as president of Cementos Argos, a leading company in the cement business in Colombia. Since arriving at Argos in 1986, Velásquez has held various positions at Cementos Argos including vice president of logistics of Argos, general manager of Cementos del Nare, president of Cemetos Paz del Rio, and vice president for the Caribbean region. He is currently a senior member of the board of directors of Cementos Argos, Celsia, Odinsa, Fundación Grupo Argos, the National Association of Entrepreneurs, and others.
US-Colombia Task Force Coordinator
El Centro para América Latina Adrienne Arsht amplía la comprensión de las transformaciones regionales y propone soluciones constructivas para informar como los sectores públicos y privados pueden promover la prosperidad en el hemisferio.
Photo Credit: Martin Falbisoner