Chairman Paul Cook Meets with Under Secretary Tom Shannon




Washington, D.C. –Representative Paul Cook (CA-08), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, held a meeting with the U.S. State Department’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Thomas Shannon, where they discussed U.S. policy priorities in the Western Hemisphere, including developments in Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia, and Honduras, the upcoming Summit of the Americas in Peru in April 2018, and how Congress can support advancing the release of U.S. citizen Joshua Holt from Venezuela. They also discussed the State Department’s redesign effort.

Chairman Cook: “The Western Hemisphere is facing very serious challenges that have a direct impact on the United States. We're seeing increasing evidence of drug production and trafficking, illegal migration, corruption, and political instability throughout the region. Countries like Venezuela and Cuba also continue to receive support from Russia, China, and Iran, enabling further repression and autocracy in the region. We must do more to address these challenges, secure the release of U.S. citizen Joshua Holt, who is being unjustly imprisoned in Venezuela, advance freedom for the Cuban and Venezuelan people, and support our democratic friends in Central America and the Caribbean.

I believe 2018 provides a huge opportunity to increase U.S. engagement in these areas, as well as to consider ways to advance energy and trade partnerships, and I look forward to working with Under Secretary Shannon to ensure we advance policies that are in the best interests of the United States and that result in a more democratic, safe, and prosperous region.”