Juan Cruz joined the Center for Strategic and International Studies in 2019 as non-resident senior adviser. Since October 2020, he has also served as director of the Argentina-U.S. Strategic Forum. The forum, which began in 2017, is a binational platform where issues relevant to both countries are discussed to shape a positive agenda that fosters a dynamic relationship—regardless of the administration in power in either country. From 2017 to 2019, Cruz worked with the National Security Council as the special assistant to the president and senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs. He drove interagency decisionmaking processes for the region and worked with international partners to foster shared understanding of key issues. He was instrumental in defining the administration’s approach to the Venezuelan crisis, the administration’s Cuba policy, and furthering the overall Western Hemisphere strategy. Cruz's professional career spans three decades as a public servant in the U.S. government. His deep understanding of the region was honed through overseas postings in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela. While in Colombia, Cruz fostered historic successes against drug cartels and guerrilla insurgencies. Throughout his government service, he has led teams to support, execute, and shape U.S. foreign policy and national security. Cruz speaks fluent Spanish and Portuguese. He holds a BA from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, an MA in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies, and an executive leadership certification from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. He also studied at the Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro.