Dr. Valenzuela is the biggest expert in the bilateral relations between the U.S. and Mexico.
He was the United States Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs in Barak Obama’s presidency. He officially left the office at the end of August 2011 and returned to his academic activities.
His primary responsibility there was the creation and execution of the United States foreign policy affairs towards America, under Hilary Clinton’s administration as Secretary of State.
As the country’s chief diplomat for the Americas, he managed the second largest regional bureau at the Department of State with 50 posts and an operating budget of $376 million for FY 2010. The Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs has over 800 US Foreign and Civil Service employees and a locally engaged staff overseas of close to 8,000. The Bureau helped manage a foreign assistance budget of approximately $1.63 billion for FY 2010, excluding assistance to Haiti.
Dr. Valenzuela is a specialist on the origins and consolidation of democracy, electoral systems, civil-military relations, political parties, regime transitions, Chilean politics, and U.S.-Latin American relations, he is also an expert in Mexican, and Southern Cone politics. He has been a consultant of Constitutional and Electoral Reform issues at Brasil, Chile, Ecuador, México, Bolivia, and Colombia, as well as for foundations and private companies in the U.S. and Latin America, and a speaker at international forums in the United States, Europe and Latin America.
He was a member of the Board of Directors of Corpbanca in Chile and of the International Advisory Board of Repsol, and Senior International Advisor for Latin America at Covington & Burling LLP, an international law firm headquartered in Washington, D.C, and director in the “Nueva Mayoría”, located in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
During President Bill Clinton’s second term in office, Dr. Valenzuela served at the White House as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs in the United States Department of State, where his responsibilities included the formulation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy towards Mexico.
Because of his diplomatic and academic contributions, he has been awarded the highest honors by Brasil and Colombia’s presidents, and a figure at “Who’s Who” in America.
He has published articles in the United States, Europe, and Latin America, as well as 9 books about democracy consolidation.