Senate approves Roberta Jacobson as US Assistant Secretary for Latin America
The Senate finally confirmed Roberta Jacobson as US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs six months after having been nominated for the post by President Barack Obama.
Jacobson who was occupying the post in an interim condition since July 2011 was included in a slate of top officials and ambassador that were voted in block by the US Senate.
These included besides Jacobson, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Tara Sonenshine, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs Mike Hammer, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration Anne Claire Richard, Assistant Secretary of State for Conflict and Stabilization Operations Frederick Barton, and Director General of the Foreign Service Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
The Obama administration faced difficulties in the confirmation of Ms Jacobson for the Latin America post because of the resistance from Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who blocked her approval for several months to protest Washington’s policy towards the region.
Cuban-American Rubio announced last week that he would lift his veto following guarantees that the government of Obama would strictly enforce conditions to extend special licences to travel to Cuba.
Jacobson replaces Arturo Valenzuela the first to hold the job under President Obama but who resigned last July to return to resume teaching and research at university. He is a political scientist and had also held a Latam related job during the administration of President Bill Clinton.
Valenzuela was forced to wait six months for the confirmation of his nomination, because of the veto of another Republican senator.
Ms Jacobson was Deputy Assistant to Valenzuela from December 2010 to July 2011.
Before that she was responsible for Mexican and Canadian affairs at the State Department from 2007 to 2010 and in the period 2003/2007 head of the Mexico Desk.
Between 2000 and 2002 she acted as second of the Embassy in Lima, Peru.
In the Senate package were also approved the names of the ambassadors to Haiti, Nicaragua, Panama and Uruguay.