Robert Valencia is a communications and public affairs enthusiast with more than 10 years of experience. He has written articles and scholarly publications for openDemocracy, Fusion TV, The Miami Herald, NPR’s Latino USA, Public Radio International and the World Politics Review, among others. He previously worked as Newsweek’s deputy world editor and is now serving as bilingual media strategist for Earthjustice, one of the largest environmental organizations in the United States.
He has become a sought-after commentator, with more than 450 appearances to date on English and Spanish-language media outlets such as CNN en Español, Sirius XM, Al Jazeera English (he was a frequent commentator on Latin American affairs for the now-defunct Al Jazeera America), NTN24, Univision, Telemundo, France24 and Voice of America, to name a few. Some of his notable TV appearances include live coverage of the 2020 Democratic National Convention and Election Day results, live coverage of the 2016 election and inauguration of President Donald Trump, analysis of the 69th U.N. General Assembly, the funeral of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in 2013, and live coverage of the U.S. Embassy’s 2015 reopening in Havana, Cuba.
He has interviewed artists, former presidents, and environmental activists, among other newsmakers. Robert’s interview with 2018 Colombian presidential candidate and current senator Gustavo Petro, in which he called Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro a “dictator,” made news across Latin America (namely Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador) the U.S. and Europe. That same year, Robert sat down with then- Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló and San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz in the wake of Hurricane María’s first anniversary.
He broke several stories during his tenure at Newsweek, including Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s controversial visit to internet sensation Salt Bae’s restaurant in Turkey in 2018, as well as the burgeoning relationship between Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro and former U.S. President Donald Trump. In addition, publications such as The Hill, VICE, Rolling Stone, The New York Post, Fortune and Politico have cited Robert’s work.
He has worked closely with Global Voices and CONNECTAS — a network of more than 150 journalists across the Western Hemisphere — to foster editorial collaboration and in-depth analysis of U.S. politics and immigration across the Americas.
His work also marries the importance of storytelling and public policy discourse to promote commonsense legislation. He has crafted and implemented communications strategies for the United Nations, the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, the Center for American Progress, The Opportunity Agenda and the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, among other non-profit organizations.
Media outlets, scholars, and governmental institutions have cited such body of work: The Mexican Senate’s Center of International Studies used the Georgetown Journal’s pieces to analyze the impact of the Pacific Alliance economic bloc in the Mexican economy, while the Brookings Institution cited his analysis on conflict resolution at the Colombian-Venezuelan border. Likewise, his extensive work on drug policies and its effects on mass incarceration and racial justice for the World Policy Institute has been mentioned or republished on the UK-based Beckley Foundation, the Harvard National Security Journal, the U.S. Army War College, the University of Toledo Law Review, the Brooklyn Journal of International Law, and the Chilean Ministry of National Defense.
Some of these publications have defended the importance of easing draconian drug legislation in the Americas and the United States, which in recent years have seen marijuana legalization across several U.S. states, including the District of Columbia. Additionally, Former President of Mexico Carlos Salinas de Gortari discussed his position on the war on drugs by citing Robert’s article for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs titled, “War on Drugs: A Pan-Regional Fight” in his book Democracia Republicana: Ni Estado Ni Mercado, Una Alternativa Ciudadana (“Republican Democracy: A Citizen’s Alternative”).
It is worth noting that new generations have shown interest in Robert’s publications. Students who participate at debate coaching or Model UNs, teachers and professors, as well as undergraduate and graduate students in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Australia have used Robert’s articles that buttress the research they carry out in their thesis projects, scholarly competitions, or their syllabi. In fact, the textbook Opposing Viewpoints Series: Free Trade dedicated a chapter to Robert’s position on the Free Trade Agreement between Colombia and the U.S.
Robert holds a B.S. in communications and a B.A. in international relations from Florida International University, an M.A. in public relations from Iona College, and an MPA from Baruch College, where he was a National Urban Fellow.