US ConGen Matamoros Closes Reynosa Consular Agency due to Gun Battles

The US Consulate General in Matamoros has issued a Warden Message on February 24, 2010:

This Warden Message is being issued to advise U.S. citizens of recent gun battles in Reynosa, Mexico, and cities surrounding Reynosa in the last week.  Several gunfights are believed to have involved narcotics trafficking organizations. The U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros has restricted the travel of American officials to Reynosa until further notice.  The Consulate General also has temporarily closed the Reynosa Consular Agency until further notice.  The Consulate General in Matamoros advises U.S. citizens to take the above information into consideration when making any decisions concerning traveling to or within Reynosa.  The Consulate General also advises U.S. citizens to stay current with media coverage of local events.
Read the whole thing here. 
The Consulate General in Monterrey has also issued a Warden Message urging Americans to avoid travel not only to Reynosa but also to Nuevo Laredo.
Due to several gun battles in Reynosa and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, in recent days, the U.S. Consulate General in Monterrey urges all U.S. citizens to avoid travel to those cities.
There were reports of ongoing gun battles in Nuevo Laredo starting at International Bridge #2 on the evening of February 19, and later moving into other parts of the City of Nuevo Laredo.  Throughout February 22 through 23, there have been gunfights or rumors of gunfights in various parts of the City of Nuevo Laredo.  There have also been confirmed gunfights in the city of Reynosa.  Gunfights in Nuevo Laredo are believed to have involved the Mexican Army and narcotics trafficking organizations. 
Read the whole thing here.
Read the updated State Department Travel Alert on Mexico Security here.
Related Items:
22 Feb 2010 | Travel Alert: Mexico


Advertisements

SFRC Clears 10 State Department Nominees

Also clears nominees for ADB, IBRD, USTDA and IMF

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee cleared the nomination of the following State Department nominees as well as nominees for related agencies on February 24.  Reported by Mr. Kerry without printed report.
Donald E. Booth, of Virginia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia.
Scott H. DeLisi,of Minnesota, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
Beatrice Wilkinson Welters, of Virginia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
David Adelman, of Georgia, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Singapore.
Harry K. Thomas, Jr.,of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Philippines.
Allan J. Katz, of Florida, to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Portuguese Republic.
Ian C. Kelly, of Maryland, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister- Counselor, to be U. S. Representative to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, with the rank of Ambassador.
Brooke D. Anderson,of California, to be Alternate Representative of the United States of America for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, with the rank of Ambassador.
Rosemary Anne DiCarlo, of the District of Columbia, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, to be the Deputy Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and the Deputy Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations.
Judith Ann Stewart Stock, of Virginia, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Educational and Cultural Affairs), vice Goli Ameri, resigned.
AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK
Walter Crawford Jones, of Maryland, to be United States Director of the African Development Bank for a term of five years, vice Mimi Alemayehou.
INTERNATIONAL BANK FOR RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT
Ian Hoddy Solomon, of Maryland, to be United States Executive Director of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development for a term of two years, vice Eli Whitney Debevoise II, term expired.
UNITED STATES TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT AGENCY
Leocadia Irine Zak, of the District of Columbia, to be Director of the Trade and Development Agency, vice Larry Woodrow Walther, resigned.
INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
Douglas A. Rediker, of Massachusetts, to be United States Alternate Executive Director of the International Monetary Fund for a term of two years, vice Daniel D. Heath, term expired.
Three other nominations are still entangled in the Senate awaiting final vote:
Laura E. Kennedy, of New York, a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister-Counselor, for the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service as U.S. Representative to the Conference on Disarmament. (Reported out of SFRC on Dec 08, 2009).
Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, of California, for the rank of Ambassador during her tenure of service as the United States Representative to the UN Human Rights Council. (Reported out of SFRC on Dec 08, 2009).
Islam A. Siddiqui, of Virginia, to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator, Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), with the rank of Ambassador, vice Richard T. Crowder. (Reported by Mr. Baucus, Committee on Finance on Dec 23, 2009).


Quickie: Large Broom Still Needed at the State Dept

Patricia H. Kushlis of WhirledView has a follow up on her Large Broom post (see “ System in Need A of a Large Broom”) from a couple months back:  Large Broom Still Needed. Quick excerpt below:

[M]y “Large Broom” post has been widely read not only in the confines of the State Department (by several thousand people) but also on Capitol Hill and throughout the larger foreign affairs community. Nothing I wrote has been challenged. Au contraire. In reality, what I wrote at the time could be the tip of a Titanic-sized iceberg, just as were the complaints raised at State’s most recent Town Hall with the Secretary.
[…]
As I’ve said earlier and I will say so again, the State Department has long had the reputation for having highly competent officers, but a very weak administrative structure. The system has traditionally rewarded a small number of senior level Foreign Service Officers who essentially clawed their way up through a very competitive, secretive, convoluted system and an overly hierarchical structure. The Foreign Service Act of 1980 made it worse. After the Cold War’s end, the Act was used throughout the 1990s to shrink the Department wholesale, forcing out too many hard language trained officers just at the peak of their careers.
To compensate for the personnel losses that never should have happened, private contractors recruit from the very pool of skilled but forced-out retirees to — guess what — staff Foreign Service positions in the Department. I know any number of highly experienced retirees who have either worked in State for a contractor or been brought back directly as temporary employees year upon year. There’s one thing about bringing back a temporary worker with the expert skills to ease a temporary shortage. But year after year?
This is not only bad management, but lends itself to the sort of abuse we see now by senior career officials in HR and elsewhere, who have brought back cronies who were senior administrative officials in days gone by and who are now ensconced in positions of influence. Positions of influence where — because of special dispensations available only to the privileged few — they are receiving not only their full pensions but good salaries as well.
But there are other serious State Department Human resources problems that need fixing. Here are two: 1) an all too pervasive attitude from the top down that the employee is always wrong; and 2) the lack of a functioning system of personnel oversight.
Read the whole thing here.
Patricia has written previous about management issues in Foggy Bottom; see her other posts below:     
Related Post:


HRC with Ambassador Hill and General Odierno

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton meets with U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Chris Hill and General Ray Odierno, Commanding General, Multi-National Force-Iraq, at the Department of State in Washington, DC February 19, 2010.
 [State Department photo / Public Domain] 


Insider Quote: Condensing Life to 7000 lbs

“Not yet having been to post, I still cannot comment on the life overseas. That being said, I like to be frank about these things in case you are reading this blog trying to decide if the Foreign Service is for you. Personally, this was one of the best choices I have ever made. However, trotting the globe is not so simple as hopping on an airplane. You’ll live out of temporary apartments and hotel rooms enroute to that plush, exotic locale, and once you get there you’ll have just enough time to get settled before you have to pull chocks and go somewhere else. You have to condense your life and the lives of your family members down to 7000 pounds and then further condense it down to a few hundred pounds that will get you through until the 7000 pounds of your life catch up to you in Timbuktu. For me, it is an adventure. Shucking off hundreds of knick-knacks and unnecessary belongings is like shedding skin to me. For others, it is not a stable existence and therefore stressful.”

The Warpiper
FS Blog: The Warpiper – Tooting My Own Horn
(Foreign Service Officer, former cop, gun and bible clinger, player of the Great Highland Bagpipe, Southerner with a capital S, malt whisky drinker, and Tater’s Dad. (….and Mrs. Warpiper’s undocumented worker) **Any occasional ranting and raving should be considered the product of the mind of a irritable hillbilly, and not to be associated with the official policies of the U.S. Department of State or the United States Government).