John F. Maisto

Former U.S. Ambassador to Venezuela

Ambassador John F. Maisto led U.S. diplomacy at the Organization of American States as U.S. permanent representative from July 2003 to December 2006.  In 2003, he was also named by President George W. Bush to be the U.S. coordinator for the Summit of the Americas, and he coordinated the president's participation in summits in Monterrey, Mexico, in 2004 and Mar del Plata, Argentina, in 2005.  Ambassador Maisto served as special assistant to President Bush and senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs for National Security Advisor Dr. Condoleezza Rice from January 2001 to April 2003. He served as foreign policy advisor at the U.S. Southern Command from 2000 to 2001. As ambassador to Venezuela from 1997 to 2000, he led energy diplomacy with the U.S.'s fourth largest oil provider, established working relations with newly-elected President Hugo Chavez and directed a U.S. $11-million flood and mudslide disaster relief effort. He previously served as Ambassador to Nicaragua from 1993 to 1996. Ambassador Maisto was deputy assistant secretary of state for Central America from 1992 to 1993 and deputy U.S. representative to the Organization of American States from 1990 to 1992. Earlier, he served as deputy chief of mission in Panama and director of the State Department's Office of Philippine Affairs.  Since beginning his career as a Foreign Service Officer in 1968, Ambassador Maisto has also worked in American embassies in Manila, San Jose, and La Paz and in the U.S. Information Agency in Argentina and Bolivia.

Ambassador Maisto has spoken and written extensively on U.S. policy in the Americas, U.S.-Philippine relations, democratic transition, hemispheric security, democracy, human rights, competitiveness, trade, economic development and education.  He is a director of the Miami-based U.S. Education Finance Group and a board member of the Washington-based International Student Exchange Program.  He is a member of the board of advisors of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington, D.C., and the Democracy Practitioners Network of the Organization of American States.