Mari Carmen Aponte, confirmed as the next US ambassador to Panama. US State Department photo.
Welcome to Panama, Ambassador Aponte
by Eric Jackson
After more than four years without an ambassador in charge of our diplomatic mission here, The American Embassy in Clayton will have a full-fledged “Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Panama.” Mari Carmen Aponte, an attorney and career diplomat, will be here soon. She has served as ambassador to El Salvador, Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and, in an acting capacity in the face of Republican opposition to most Democratic nominations, chargé d’affaires for the United States in the Dominican Republic and US representative at the Organization of American States. Before her diplomatic career she was the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s Federal Affairs Administration.
First named by Joe Biden in October of last year, but with a formal submission of her nomination to the US Senate delayed until this past January, Aponte didn’t get a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing until this past May. At that hearing she said that the United States should not allow the widespread corruption in Panama to get worse.
Officially well received, expected nationalist and faux nationalist voices take Aponte’s motives to be interventionist and thus unacceptable.
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