Inter-American Dialogue Launches Venezuela Working Group

September 19, 2018, 9:00 a.m.
Contact: Michael Camilleri 

Washington, DC – On September 17 and 18, the Inter-American Dialogue’s Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program launched its Venezuela Working Group, a task force of hemispheric leaders committed to formulating and actively promoting policy responses to the crises in Venezuela.

Venezuela confronts the Americas’ most acute governance crisis today. Working Group members were seized by the massive and growing wave of Venezuelans fleeing this crisis, and by the obstacles to their effective reception and protection in neighboring countries. “The scale and consequences of the situation in Venezuela demand a sharp, sustained focus. Our Group will concentrate on strengthening regional cooperation and multilateral action in response to the economic, democratic, and humanitarian challenges in Venezuela,” noted Laura Chinchilla, former President of Costa Rica and one of the co-chairs of the Group.

The group’s strategic objective is to inform, shape, and strengthen the actions of the actors best positioned to advance a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous future for Venezuela. The group will also tackle the external impacts of the Venezuelan crisis, particularly forced migration. Donna Hrinak, a former U.S. Ambassador and the second co-chair of the Group, observed, “The political and economic situation has forced millions of Venezuelans to flee. It is nothing short of a humanitarian tragedy that will require a bold and coordinated international response.”

At its inaugural meeting, the Working Group outlined an engagement strategy based on its analysis of the trajectory of Venezuela’s crisis and efforts by national governments and multilateral bodies to address the challenges within Venezuela and beyond its borders. “Over the coming weeks and months, the Venezuela Working Group will engage key bilateral and multilateral decisionmakers to share its insights and recommendations. Our ambition is to both formulate policy solutions and build the necessary political consensus around them,” noted Michael Camilleri, director of the Dialogue’s Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, Michael Shifter, President of the Inter-American Dialogue, said, “We are honored to harness our network and engage such an impressive group of experts. Through the Venezuela Working Group, we hope to propose actionable solutions in response to one of the defining hemispheric challenges of our time.”

About the Venezuela Working Group at the Inter-American Dialogue

The Venezuela Working Group is an initiative of the Peter D. Bell Rule of Law Program. The group will meet three times over an 18-month period.  Each Working Group meeting will be followed by a policy paper that will be informed by the ideas and proposals discussed during the meeting, as well as a plan for coordinated follow-up action and strategy execution by Group members. The members of the group include: Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica), Donna Hrinak (United States), Andrés Serbin (Argentina), Diego García-Sayán (Peru), Feliciano Reyna (Venezuela), Jamal Khokhar (Canada), Jeff Davidow (United States), José Ignacio Hernández (Venezuela), Juan Carlos Pinzón (Colombia), Juan Gabriel Valdés (Chile), Roberta Jacobson (United States), Rosario Córdoba (Colombia), Serena Joseph-Harris (Trinidad and Tobago), Vanessa Rubio (Mexico), and Verónica Zubillaga (Venezuela). The Working Group will benefit from the participation and counsel of additional experts drawn from Venezuelan civil society.

About the Inter-American Dialogue

The Inter-American Dialogue engages its network of global leaders to foster democratic governance, prosperity, and social equity in Latin America and the Caribbean. Together, we shape policy debate, generate ideas, devise solutions, and enhance collaboration within the Western Hemisphere.