Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shameful Political Games

WASHINGTON, DC, 12-13-11 - The National Hispanic Leadership Agenda (NHLA), a coalition of the 30 leading Hispanic organizations in the United States, denounced members of the Senate who, once again, made political gamesmanship their first and only priority in voting on Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte’s nomination. The Senate voted 49-37 on Aponte’s nomination to remain as Ambassador to El Salvador, which fell short of the required three-fifths supermajority.

“Over the past three years, a group of Senators has shown they will not hesitate to put political point-scoring ahead of our country’s best interests,” said Lillian Rodríguez-López, chair of NHLA.   “Today’s vote blocking Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte may be one of the most egregious examples of a disturbing trend of especially unfair treatment of Hispanic and minority nominees.  Aponte’s accomplishments in just one year of service should be hailed by both parties.  Sadly, today’s vote is not just a slap in the face to Hispanics and women, but it is a great detriment to United States interests in Central America.”

Since the beginning of her temporary assignment as Ambassador one year ago, Mari Carmen Aponte has amassed an impressive record of economic, security, and human rights accomplishments:

As El Salvador’s fragile democracy continues to recover from the legacy of civil war, Ambassador Aponte has had a unique ability to bring old foes together and soothe tensions, keeping the peace and democracy on track. 
Ambassador Aponte negotiated an agreement between the U.S. and Salvadoran governments to on a comprehensive Partnership for Growth Joint Action Plan, that will promote economic growth and transparency in El Salvador.
Following a tense, two-month constitutional crisis, Ambassador Aponte invited Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor to El Salvador to emphasize the need for dialogue, which helped break an impasse that threatened to paralyze the country.
Ambassador Aponte has been a strong U.S. presence, promoting democracy and human rights, and challenging influences from the governments of Cuba and Venezuela.
Ambassador Aponte secured the deployment of Salvadoran troops to Afghanistan.  El Salvador is the first and only Latin American country to contribute troops to the U.S.-led NATO mission there.
Reaching out to private sector leaders, Ambassador Aponte has helped find business opportunities for American and Salvadoran companies alike.

These accomplishments now stand as a marker of what true leadership in Central America can achieve. They are just the early examples of what Ambassador Aponte would ultimately accomplish in the region. Tonight’s obstruction by a group of Senators will stand as proof that, to them, party is of greater importance than country.  

Estuardo Rodriguez

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