Henry G. Bennett Distinguished Fellow

Ana Maria Salazar

Ms. Ana Maria Salazar is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and is widely recognized as an expert of international law and national security on Latin America. She holds a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California at Berkeley.

Between June 1998 and January 2001, Ms. Salazar served at the Pentagon as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Drug Enforcement Policy and Support. She oversaw and controlled a budget in excess of $1 billion dollars that supported the Department of Defense’s counter drug programs in the United States and over 20 other countries. Ms. Salazar played a key role in developing the $1.3 billion dollar support package for Colombia that was signed by President Clinton in June 2000. As a result of her efforts at the Pentagon, Ms. Salazar was recognized by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of the 100 most influential Hispanic Americans in the United States.

Prior to joining the Pentagon, Ms. Salazar served at the White House as Policy Advisor for President Clinton’s Special Envoy for the Americas in 1998. In that capacity, she formulated and coordinated policies designed to advance the President’s agenda for Latin America and the Caribbean in areas such as justice and security, law enforcement, education, human rights, democracy and trade. From March 1995 to June 1997, Ms. Salazar served in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. There she advised the Assistant Secretary on policies regarding international criminal organizations, counter narcotics and anti-money laundering issues.

Ms. Salazar has also worked and lived in Latin America. In Colombia she served as the Judicial Attaché at the United States Embassy in Bogota, coordinating evidence and information requests between the United States and the relevant Colombian agencies for prosecution of drug trafficking kingpins. She also has supervised multi-million dollar projects designed to improve the administration of justice in Colombia and Guatemala.

Ms. Salazar frequently appears on English and Spanish speaking television and radio news and talk shows, providing analysis and commentaries on politics and foreign affairs. She has also provided technical assistance, lectured and published in English and Spanish on the topics of criminal justice reforms, alternative dispute resolution, and training programs for military personnel, investigators, prosecutors and judges.

Ms. Salazar is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and in the District of Columbia. She has received numerous awards including the “Medal for Outstanding Public Service” and the “Joint Meritorious Award” by the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the “Medalla Militar-Ministerio de Defensa” by the Colombian President, and the “Orden Naval Almirante Padilla” by the Colombian Navy. Her commentary has been published in a variety of newspapers and magazines including the Los Angeles Times, Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union, Miami Herald, La Opinión (Californina), La Estrella (Texas), El Heraldo (Florida), El Tiempo (Colombia), La Nacion (Costa Rica), Poder (USA), Hispanic Magazine (USA), Proceso (Mexico), and Cambio (Mexico, Colombia).