Robert A. Pastor, an influential scholar and policymaker who spent decades working for better inter-American relations and democracy and free elections in the Western Hemisphere, died Wednesday at his home in Washington, D.C., after a three-year battle with cancer. He was 66.
His death was announced by American University, where Pastor was a professor in the School of International Service.
Pastor had been President Carter's national security adviser for Latin America and the Caribbean. President Clinton later picked Pastor to be the U.S. ambassador to Panama, but the appointment was blocked by U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms, a Republican from North Carolina, because Pastor helped draft the Panama Canal treaties of 1978. Helms opposed the transfer of the canal to Panama.
At American University, Pastor was also director of the Center for North American Studies and the Center for Democracy and Election Management. Earlier, as the university's vice president of international affairs, he established the American University of Nigeria.
Pastor previously taught at Emory University in Atlanta and was a senior fellow at the Carter Center, where he established programs on Latin America and the Caribbean, democracy and election-monitoring.
He was the author of numerous books on international affairs, most recently "The North American Idea: A Vision of a Continental Future."
Robert Alan Pastor was born April 10, 1947, in Newark, N.J. He received a bachelor's degree in history from Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., and served in the Peace Corps in Malaysia before enrolling at Harvard. There he earned a master's in public administration and a doctorate in government.
Times staff and wire reports