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A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and a border patrol officer stand next to some of the over 14 tons of marijuana seized after discovering a major cross-border drug tunnel linking warehouses in Otay Mesa industrial park and Tijuana, Mexico, in Otay Mesa, California November 16, 2011.


A Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent and a border patrol officer stand next to some of the over 14 tons of marijuana seized after discovering a major cross-border drug tunnel linking warehouses in Otay Mesa industrial park and Tijuana, Mexico, in Otay Mesa, California November 16, 2011.

This event has been canceled. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

Stability and prosperity in the Americas are indispensable to US economic success, US energy independence, and US security. However, illegal narcotics trafficking, transnational organized crime, and radical populism threaten the future of the Americas. President Obama’s current policy is inadequate for tapping these opportunities or meeting these serious challenges, especially as Iran continues to expand its footprint in the Americas and Hezbollah collaborates with narcotraffickers in the Americas region. 

At this event, Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ), new chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, will propose a vigorous strategy for the Americas. A panel discussion featuring experienced regional diplomats will follow.


8:45 AM

9:00 AM
Keynote Address:
Matt Salmon (R-AZ), US House of Representatives

10:00 AM
Jaime Aparicio, Former Bolivian Ambassador to the United States
Francisco Villagrán de León, Guatemalan Ambassador to the United States
Rubén Zamora, Salvadoran Ambassador to the United States
Roger F. Noriega, AEI

11:00 AM

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Alex Della Rocchetta at [email protected], 202.862.7152.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Jaime Aparicio is a former ambassador of Bolivia to the United States. He was president of the Inter-American Juridical Committee, an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States (OAS) for International Law, from 2006 to 2010. From 2006 to 2007, he worked as chief of the Carter Center Observation Missions in Nicaragua and Ecuador. Previously, he worked as senior political adviser to former OAS secretary general Cesar Gaviria, and later as executive secretary of the Summits of the Americas. From 1993 to 1997, he was the national secretary of foreign affairs of Bolivia. Before that, Aparicio was director of the Bolivian newspaper La Razón and professor of international law at the Catholic University of La Paz.

Francisco Villagrán de León is the ambassador of Guatemala to the United States.  He is a career diplomat with more than 25 years in the Guatemalan foreign service. He has served as Guatemala’s vice minister of foreign affairs and as ambassador to the United Nations, the Organization of American States, Canada, Germany, and Norway. In addition to his diplomatic posts, he has held fellowships at the US Institute of Peace and the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, DC, and has served as a senior fellow and member of the board of the Center for the Defense of the Constitution in Guatemala City.

Roger F. Noriega is a visiting fellow at AEI and the founder and managing director of Visión Américas LLC, which advises US and foreign clients on international business issues. He served as the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs (Canada, Latin America, and the Caribbean) from July 2003 to October 2005 and as the US ambassador to the Organization of American States from August 2001 to July 2003. Noriega is currently vice chairman of the board of directors of the Congressional Award Foundation and a member of the advisory boards of the Canadian American Border Trade Partnership and the Americano, an online forum for Latino voters.

Matt Salmon was reelected to the US Congress on November 6, 2012, to represent Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District. Salmon was appointed by his peers to serve on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and serves as chairman of the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. He also serves on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. In 1990, Salmon was elected to the Arizona State Senate, where he served from 1991 to 1995.  During this time, he was assistant majority leader and chairman of the Rules Committee. In 1994, Salmon was first elected to the US House of Representatives, where he served three terms.  Alongside his position on the International Relations Committee, Salmon led multiple US delegations to China, one of which secured the release of political prisoner Song Yongyi. During his service, he was named a “Watchdog of the Treasury” for six consecutive years and earned the Taxpayer Hero award from Citizens Against Government Waste.

Rubén Zamora is the ambassador of El Salvador to the United States. Zamora helped found the Frente Democrático Revolucionario, a former coalition policy of El Salvador, and the Convergencia Democrática, a center-left electoral coalition in El Salvador. In the first presidential election following the Salvadoran civil war in 1994, Zamora was the presidential candidate for the leftist coalition; he finished in second place with 25 percent of the vote. During the 1990s, he served as vice president of the national assembly, as a member of the national peace commission, and founded and led the Centro Democrático Unido party. Zamora has taught political science at the University of El Salvador and Universidad Centroamérica in El Salvador, Universidad San Carlos and Universidad Rafael Landivar in Guatemala, University of Essex in the United Kingdom, and Stanford University.

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