Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Life after Gunwalker. Dan Restrepo goes on tour.

Dan Restrepo, long-time readers of this column may recall my column from April of last year.
If personnel is policy and bad policies on the ground come from meetings of ambitious persons on high, then those of us who are trying to figure out where the Gunwalker scandal came from might want to look at Dan Restrepo and the meetings he's been in.
At the time, my sources said that if Dan Restrepo wasn't the Oliver North of the Gunwalker Scandal, that he knew who was. Since then, intense scrutiny has focused on his National Security Council deputy Kevin O'Reilly. In May of this year it was announced that Restrepo was headed for the White House back door.
Now, we know some of what Restrepo has in mind for making money post-Gunwalker: he going on the rubber chicken fajita circuit for the International Association of Speakers Bureaus.
"The International Association of Speakers Bureaus (IASB) is a 501c6 nonprofit trade organization representing speakers bureaus and agencies worldwide. Founded in 1986, IASB provides leadership to the bureau industry through education, resources and partnerships."
From the IASB biography:
Dan Restrepo: President Obama´s advisor regarding Latin America
Dan Restrepo is a veteran of the Obama White House and has worked at the highest levels of the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of the U.S. government.
He has experience as a speaker on U.S. foreign policy, particularly toward Latin America; the domestic and international role of the growing Latino population in the United States; and U.S. electoral dynamics, among other topics.
At the White House, Restrepo served as President Obama´s principal advisor on the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council staff. He was also part of the team responsible for maintaining and strengthening ties with Latino communities. He joined the historic 2008 Obama campaign in its early days serving as an advisor regarding Latin America issues. He also helped formulate strategies designed to attract the Latino vote and served as a Spanish language spokesman during the 2008 general election. In 2000, Restrepo worked on Vice President Al Gore´s campaign in Florida during the general election and the historic and controversial recount.
Restrepo, whose career has combined politics, policy, communication, and law, has been recognized three straight years as one of the most influential Latinos in the United States. In April 2009, he made history when he became the first person to brief in Spanish during a regularly scheduled White House daily press briefing.
As an advisor to President Obama, Restrepo was responsible for U.S. policy toward Latin America, Canada, and the Caribbean. He managed President Obama´s five trips to Latin America and his more than 30 bilateral meetings with Presidents and Prime Ministers from across the region. Restrepo also advised Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and other senior U.S. officials during their trips to Latin America and in their interactions with leaders across the region.
Restrepo has been a commentator on a wide range of topics on U.S., Latin American, and Spanish media. Before working at the White House, he established, at the Center for American Progress - the United States´ most important progressive think tank - a program on the U.S. relationship with the Americas and the impact of Hispanics on U.S. policy and politics. Restrepo also worked on the professional staff of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee and as a clerk to a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Based on his professional and personal experiences, Restrepo offers a unique perspective on the global emergence of countries in Latin America and its implications for business, international relations, and public policy.
You will note that the link provides contact information for the IASB in Bogota, Colombia. This is probably one of the few places in the hemisphere where audiences won't ask him about his role in Fast and Furious.

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