Ambassador Aponte’s Nomination "DeMinted" Over Old Boyfriend, LGBT Op-Ed, and [Fill in the Blank]

The Senate rejected on a 49-37 vote late Monday the cloture on the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte, of the District of Columbia, to be Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador. Ambassador Aponte is the first Puerto Rican appointed as U.S. ambassador.

Ambassador Aponte
Photo from US Embassy San Salvador/FB

Nevada Sen. Harry Reid issued the following statement after Republicans blocked her confirmation:

“Senate Republicans once again put politics above policy by blocking the confirmation of a dedicated public servant. In the fifteen months Mari Carmen Aponte has served as our ambassador to El Salvador, she finalized an important international, anti-crime agreement and forged a strong partnership between our nations. The Puerto Rican community and all Americans are right to be proud of Ms. Aponte’s accomplishments as a diplomat representing our nation, as I am.

“I am disappointed Republicans continued a long-running trend of obstructing qualified nominees just to score political points. Unfortunately, defeating President Obama is more important to Senate Republicans than confirming qualified nominees to represent our country in Latin America.”

Ambassador Aponte’s chief opponent in the Senate is no other than Jim Demint, the junior senator from South Carolina and chief defender of creatures big and small except gay people.  According to CNN, Senator DeMint, writing last month in Human Events, assailed Ambassador Aponte for the op-ed and revived the old speculation about her personal life.

“Our relationship with the Salvadoran people has been one of trust and friendship for decades,” DeMint said. “We should not risk that by appointing an ambassador who shows such a blatant disregard for their culture and refuses to clear unsettled doubts about her previous relationships. It’s time to bring Ms. Aponte home.”

NYT’s Gail Collins writes a warning about The Ghosts of Boyfriends Past which should be required reading for all women with ambassadorial aspirations.

New unnerving development in Congress: Some senators are claiming that a woman nominated to be ambassador to El Salvador can’t have the job because they don’t like a boyfriend she lived with almost 20 years ago.
Whenever these things happen, the Democrats race off to try to placate the aggrieved Republican. They gave DeMint access to Aponte’s F.B.I. file, even though instances of DeMint’s being placated by anything are about as frequent as confirmed sightings of space aliens.

DeMint then complained that the file was out of date. But, by then, he seemed to be losing interest in the boyfriend issue and had moved on to fuming that while she was in El Salvador, Aponte had written an op-ed essay in a Salvadoran newspaper “lecturing their people on the need to accept and support the gay lifestyle.”

So basically, Ambassador Aponte’s nomination is derailed by the ghost of an old boyfriend, and for writing an op-ed on a policy championed by the administration she serves. But even if she did not write that op-ed, who’s to say that her nomination would not be “deminted” … after all there are other blahs to complain about …. her shoes or something…

I suppose there is still hope while Congress is in session. But time is against her.  With only a few days to go before Congress breaks for the holidays,  it seems like this nomination may now be seriously dead. 


It looks like this nomination is not quite dead yet but not sure how long this will stay in life support. Ambassador Aponte’s nomination is currently listed for reconsideration in the senate’s executive calendar dated December 17.  A few days ago, the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC) announced its disappointment in the Senate’s recent failure to confirm her as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador. According to its press release, “the USHCC, America’s premier Hispanic business organization and the primary
advocate for the interests of nearly three million Hispanic-owned
businesses in the United States that combined generate in excess of $420 billion annually, has been impressed with Aponte’s achievements regarding economic development in El Salvador.”

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is not the only one disappointed. Apparently, the Puerto Ricans in Florida are similarly disappointed. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) must have heard their disappointment. WaPo’s Al Kamen writes that “if it turns out that Rubio gets sufficient votes to break the
filibuster, a Senate vote would be rescheduled on Aponte’s nomination.”

Ambassador Eisen Gets to Stay at the Petschek Villa

The Senate voted 70-16 late Monday to break a Republican hold on the nomination of Norman Eisen to be ambassador to the Czech Republic.  The Senate then approved him on voice vote.

Ambassador Eisen’s recess appointment would have expired on January 5, 2012. Now he gets to stay put until after the election, or beyond depending on the outcome of the 2012 election.

Petschek Villa
Residence of the U.S. Ambassador in Prague
Photo from US Embassy Prague

Karzai’s Kabul Bank Scam Excuse –"Created by Foreign Hands"

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (June 13, 2010) — Afghan...Image via WikipediaAs NATO foreign ministers gathered in Bonn last week to discuss the way forward in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai gave an interview to SPIEGEL about how much international involvement will be required following the 2014 withdrawal and about his rocky partnership with the United States. The interview was conducted by Matthias Gebauer and Christoph Reuter and touched on corruption in Afghanistan, specifically on the Bank of Kabul. Excerpts:

SPIEGEL: In the largest financial scandal of Afghanistan, surrounding the virtually bankrupt Bank of Kabul, your family too would seem to be involved. We have seen a protocol from former central bank head Abdul Qadir Fitrat who, in the presence of your brother, made clear that the bank was little more than a criminal organization and was close to collapse. It provided loans to fictitious companies and straw men. The bank managers invested in huge villas in Dubai. Why did nothing happen for a full year?

Karzai: We called in Fitrat and asked him and said we are hearing that there is something going wrong, but he said no. The Americans never told us about this. The bank didn’t tell us.

SPIEGEL: But once the problems became apparent, why did your government prevent an audit of the bank by foreign experts?

Karzai: We believed a certain embassy was trying to create financial trouble for us. We felt the whole bank scam was created by foreign hands.

SPIEGEL: Which embassy?

Karzai: I will not go into details.

This is the same guy who wants $5 billion a year from the United States until 2024.  He must think that’s a nice round bargain considering that we are going to spend $6.5 billion a year for the US Mission in Iraq after the military pulls out.


US Embassy Syria to Get $21,800 of Meals Ready to Eat

This solicitation for MREs or meals, ready to eat recently appeared in fedbiz:

The Department of State requires the following items, Brand Name or Equal, to the following:



The contract was awarded to Noble Sales Co., Inc. of Hanover, MA on November 21, 2011 in the amount of $21,803.04.

Photo by Christopherlin

According to Meyers Custom Supply, its SURE-PAK MRE is their top-of-the-line meal:

SOPAKCO SURE-PAK 12TM  meal case was designed to meet the needs of the end user who requires a top-of-line, fully-configured MRE meal case.  With 12 mains, 12 sides, 12 desserts, 12 crackers, 12 spreads, 12 beverages, 12 coffees –  It’s the best MRE meal case we’ve ever made for the general public