News Article

Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center announces third iteration of US-Colombia Task Force co-chaired by Senators Cardin and Blunt
March 26, 2021


WASHINGTON, DC  — March 26, 2021 —??? Following an event with Colombian President Iván Duque and US-Colombia Task Force co-chairs Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center announced that Representative Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) will serve on this Atlantic Council Task Force for its third iteration. Representative Crenshaw will bring to the Task Force valuable experience as a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as a personal perspective.

Representative Crenshaw joins Representative Gregory Meeks (D-NY), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Representative Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) as congressional members of the Task Force.

“As someone who grew up in Colombia, I have a unique appreciation for the progress Colombia has made in recent decades,” Representative Crenshaw said. “The US-Colombia engagement in the 1990s is a template we should use because the successes are clear. The US-Colombian relationship is an example of what outcomes are possible when there is true partnership.”

Chairman Meeks said, “Colombia has held a special place in my policy agenda and so do the people of Colombia’s Caribbean and Pacific communities. All of Colombia and its institutions are stronger when we prioritize inclusive and sustainable economic development and prioritize the needs of Afro-Colombian communities, indigenous peoples, and women and leverage their untapped potential.”

The Task Force also welcomed Michael McKinley, former US ambassador to Peru (2007-2010), Colombia (2010-2013), Afghanistan (2014-2016), and Brazil (2017-2018), and senior counselor at the Cohen Group; Mauricio Cardenas, former minister of finance and public credit (2012-2018) and of mines and energy (2011-2012), and current member of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center’s Advisory Council; and Marlene Fernández del Granado, former Bolivian ambassador to Italy (2003-2004) and the United States (1999-2002), and current vice president, government relations at Arcos Dorados/ McDonald’s Latin America.

The 2021 Task Force includes leaders from the public, private, and civil society sectors in the United States and Colombia. The nonpartisan, bicameral, binational, and multisectoral group will contribute concrete recommendations for broadening and deepening US-Colombia relations. In 2021, it will explore key issues on the bilateral agenda, including the Venezuela regional crisis, the implementation of Colombia’s 2016 Peace Agreement, commerce and investment, and climate change, among other topics. By advancing whole-of-society solutions with broad support in the United States and Colombia, the group will help address the most challenging policy issues in Colombia and the region, while also advancing US interests in Latin America and the Caribbean.

“As the world continues addressing the health and economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, strengthening US-Colombia trade and investment would benefit both countries in their economic recoveries. As co-chair of the bipartisan, bicameral US-Colombia Task Force of the Atlantic Council, I am pleased to continue advocating for deeper economic ties between the United States and Colombia,” said Senator Roy Blunt.

“A strong US-Colombia partnership improves the security and prosperity of not only both our countries, but also of the Western Hemisphere as a whole,” said Senator Cardin. “Colombia has made significant steps to address internal armed conflict, combat organized crime, and support human rights for their own citizens, and now they have extended their generosity to almost 2 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants in recent years. Our continued bipartisan support of Colombia is as important as ever.”

“As we look at competing foreign policy priorities, the United States should continue to prioritize its alliance with Colombia. Strengthening it will without a doubt result in a safer and more prosperous Western Hemisphere,” said Jason Marczak, director of the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center.  

Watch the livestream or read the transcript of the March 25 public discussion with Colombian President Iván DuqueSenator Ben Cardin, and Senator Roy Blunt. 

In the coming weeks, the Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center will publish a spotlight report on the progress that has been made on key bilateral objectives over the last eighteen months. Other high-impact spotlight reports will follow as part of the work of the Task Force.