Saturday, March 13, 2010

Obama Nominee For Ambassador Has Ties To Cuban Intelligence!

The Obama Administration's nominee for the ambassadorship to El Salvador is going to have some 'splainin' to do on Capitol Hill :

Lawyer Mari Carmen Aponte was previously nominated to be an ambassador under President Bill Clinton, but withdrew her name from consideration after reports of her relationship with Cuban national Roberto Tamayo surfaced.

The Puerto Rican-born Aponte was a White House fellow under Jimmy Carter before spending the next 20 years as a lawyer and activist representing Hispanic-American interest groups in Washington. Her nomination originally was slated to be considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Thursday but was pushed to Wednesday, March 16 at the request of GOP lawmakers.

“Serious concerns about this nominee arose when she was nominated for a different position during the Clinton administration. I have asked the committee for additional time to review these matters. So far we have not received all of the information we have requested,” said Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina.

Aponte was first nominated to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic by Clinton in 1998 after she helped raise money for his 1996 re-election campaign. However, soon after her nomination Aponte’s name began to circle Washington in connection with a rumor that Tamayo, with whom she co-habitated for eight years starting in 1986, was an asset to the Cuban intelligence agency DGI. Former Cuban intelligence agent and defector Florentino Aspillaga also alleged Tamayo tried to recruit Aponte.{...}

The Washington Times reported Tamayo was in regular contact with both the FBI and Cuban intelligence services during the late 1980s and early ’90s. One retired FBI counterintelligence officer described him as “a fellow who had interests in all camps.” When questioned by the FBI in April 1994 over Tamayo’s ties to Cuban intelligence, Aponte reportedly refused to take a lie detector test. There are also allegations that Tamayo provided her with a loan from the Cuban secret service that was never paid back.


Aponte, of course has no diplomatic background or foreign affairs experience whatsoever, aside from her extracurricular activities.

Her chief activities aside from Democrat fund raising were to serve as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza and as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association.

Lots of unimportant ambassadorships go to heavy donors in the normal course of events, but the post in El Salvador is reportedly a very sensitive one in Latin America that's been reserved for foreign service professionals - until now.

And the idea of appointing someone without any diplomatic experience who might be compromised with ties to Cuba???

Stay tuned..

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Cynthia Beattie Mcgill said...

Everything Obama learned about diplomacy he learned in kindergarten and it is us, the Americans who are paying for him not learing good lessons in the childhood. Hope his putting America on the path of "set a good example and others will follow" philosphy works!

B.Poster said...

Does El Salvador even want an ambassador who has ties to Cuba? I'm assuming the host country of the ambassadors have a large say in who the country who sends them nominates. In any event, Republicans can't do any thing to thwart this nomination. If the nomination is thwarted, it will be because enough Democrats have a problem with it.

How will El Salvador react if a nominee for ambassador that they probably played a large role in selecting is denied the nomination? Russia and China have become the dominant powers in Central and South America. The United States is little more than a minor actor in this region right now and its power is likely become even less in the coming years.

Any American ambassador to this region will have to have at least the tacit approval of Russia and China, especially Russia. This nominiation may simply reflect the reality of the geopolitical situation.

Essentially Russia is the most powerful nation on earth. If I'm aware of this, then I think team Obama has to be as well and his advisors may simply be advising him accordingly.