Confirmed: At Last – Arturo Valenzuela to WHA!

Arturo ValenzuelaImage from OAS

Nominations of Shannon and Solomont still on hold

One of the two administration nominees for the Western Hemisphere has been confirmed. Arturo A. Valenzuela, President Obama’s nominee to be Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Affairs (WHA) bureau was confirmed by the Senate on November 5. He would succeed Thomas Shannon, whose nomination to be Ambassador to Brazil has also been on hold. Both nominations were reported out of the SFRC last July 28 but were subjected to a Senate hold over the administration’s policies on Honduras.

In its October 31 editorial WaPo calls the U.S. brokered deal A win in Honduras and also says: “[T]he leader of the U.S. delegation in Honduras this week, outgoing Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Shannon, is one of the State Department professionals abused by Mr. DeMint. Having recorded the Obama administration’s biggest diplomatic success so far, Mr. Shannon ought to be allowed to take up his new post as ambassador to Brazil.”


Barely a week later, Reuters reports: “The collapse of an accord to end a four-month political crisis in Honduras leaves egg on the faces of U.S. and regional diplomats who had engineered the deal and puts the November 29 presidential election in jeopardy.”

How much longer the Honduras crisis is going to last, who knows? But it is doubtful that the recent news is going to help much in prying Shannon’s nomination from DeMint’s hold. [This one via Senatus on 11/7 – it seems like Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) has also put a hold on Shannon’s nomination over Cuba on migration and direct mail service. I don’t know if DeMint has actually lifted his hold on this nomination, or if two senators now have a hold on Shannon’s nomination –updated 11/9/09]

Still stuck in Senate holds and jams are the following:


Thomas Alfred Shannon, Jr
., of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career Minister, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federative Republic of Brazil.

This nomination was reported out of the Committee on Foreign Relations on July 28, 2009; hold placed by Senator Jim DeMint, R-SC over Honduras.


Alan D. Solomont
, of Massachusetts, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Spain, and to serve concurrently and without additional compensation as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Andorra.

This nomination was reported out of the Committee on Foreign Relations on September 17, 2009; hold placed by Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA over the firing of AmeriCorps inspector general Gerald Walpin.

CONFIRMATIONS — (Senate – November 05, 2009)
[Page: S11237] GPO’s PDF



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