Posted: 12:05 am ET
Updated: 5:19 pm PT
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On May 5, the State Department appointed Mari Carmen Aponte as the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs (State/WHA). Which probably means there won’t be a formal nominee for this position until after the elections in November. The assistant secretary is responsible for managing and promoting U.S. interests in the region by supporting democracy, trade, and sustainable economic development, and fostering cooperation on issues such as citizen safety, strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, economic and social inclusion, energy, and climate change.
Previously, Ms. Aponte was the Ambassador of the United States to El Salvador from 2012 until February 2016. In 2015, President Obama nominated her to be the Permanent Representative of the United States of America to the Organization of American States (OAS) with the rank of Ambassador. (PN628). That nomination has been stuck in committee since last year.
The WHA leadership is currently composed of career diplomat Paco Palmieri who is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary; and
four five deputy assistant secretaries (DAS): career diplomats John Creamer, Alex Lee, Gonzalo Gallegos, and Kenneth Merten (who is also the Haiti Special Coordinator). The fifth DAS is former WH person staffer Juan Gonzalez who also previously served as Chief of Staff to the former WHA Assistant Secretary of State Arturo Valenzuela.
- Officially In: Mari Del Carmen Aponte to San Salvador | Diplopundit | Dec 10, 2009
- SFRC Hearing: Mari Carmen Aponte | Diplopundit| Mar 17, 2010
- A Rough Week in the Diplomatic World (assassination attempt …| May 01, 2010
- SFRC Clears Ambassadorial Nominees to 28 Posts, Also Clears USAID …| Aug 04, 2010
- Senate Finally Confirms Ambassador Aponte, and She Just Unpacked Her Household Effects! June 2012
- Ambassador Aponte’s Nomination “DeMinted” Over Old Boyfriend, LGBT Op-Ed, and [Fill in the Blank] Dec 2011
- Senate to vote on cloture motions on the Eisen and Aponte nominations, December 12 Dec 2011
- Say hello to the new US Ambassador to El Salvador, Maria del Carmen Aponte Aug 2010