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AMBASSADOR DAVID PASSAGE is a 33-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service who retired from the State Department in September 1998. He has had extensive experience with both Latin America and guerrilla insurgencies in various parts of the world. Ambassador Passage was political officer at the American embassy in Quito, Ecuador, during the mid-1970s and Deputy Chief of Mission/Charge d’Affaires at the American Embassy in El Salvador at the height of that country’s civil war, from 1984 to 1986. Coincidentally, he spent 6 years as a youth in Colombia and was in Bogotá during the violent uprising in May 1948 which sparked a decade-long civil war known as La Violencia. At the beginning of his Foreign Service career, Ambassador Passage was a pacification program analyst at the U.S. military assistance command in Vietnam. He also served as an American negotiator during the extensive U.S. diplomatic effort in the 1980s to secure the withdrawal of Cuban forces from Africa, an end to Angola’s and Mozambique’s civil wars which were fanned by internal insurgencies; independence for Namibia, which was also being fought for by an internal insurgency; and the policy of “constructive engagement” with South Africa (which was under the threat of possible guerrilla warfare from black nationalist movements). At the end of his career, Ambassador Passage was Director of Andean Affairs at the State Department, with responsibility for the overall conduct of U.S. relations with Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
*The above information may not be current. It was current at the time when the individual worked for SSI or was published by SSI.
Authored by Ambassador David Passage.
Twenty-five years after the end of the Vietnam War, the ghost of that war still haunts the corridors of the decision makers when it comes to making long-term commitments to situations that remotely resemble anything like our Indochina experience. That is the case in with Colombia, which is embroiled in an internecine struggle with two guerrilla movements bent on overthrowing the government as well