“Josh has been a wonderful colleague who led USAID’s efforts to support our neighbors in Latin America and the Caribbean during the pandemic,” Claver-Carone said in a statement. “He will be the key to expanding this effort as soon as a vaccine becomes available and I look forward to working with him in his new role.”
The background: Hodges, the child of missionary parents, grew up in a number of cities in Mexico and speaks Spanish with a deep Mexican accent. He did not respond to a request for comment.
In his USAID job, Hodges assisted the region in fighting the coronavirus pandemic and gave it protective gear. He also played a huge role in USAID’s donations for ventilators, half of which went to Latin America. He dealt intensively with issues in Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela.
Prior to joining USAID, Hodges worked at NSC, where he was Assistant Senior Director, Information Statecraft and Director of Strategic Communications, and worked closely with Claver-Carone. His first position in the Trump administration was as director of congressional affairs for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Previously, Hodges served on several Senate committees and in the House of Representatives as the legislative director on Capitol Hill.
Of the NSC’s 18 directorates, only the Western Hemisphere Affairs Directorate, which consists of 5 career directors and a dedicated assistant, was not cut during the downsizing of the NSC by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien. it actually won a place.
What’s next: In his new role, Hodges will focus on Venezuela, pandemic response, the upcoming elections in Bolivia and América Crece, the U.S. government’s regional economic growth initiative in America aimed at countering China’s Belt and Road initiative. Canada is also in his portfolio.