2 June 2015 - 03:10 PM
What Does Obama's Choice of Ambassador Mean for Mexico?
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U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Roberta S. Jacobson, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs and the lead person in negotiations to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba, to be the United States ambassador to Mexico, the White House said Monday.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson arrives at a news conference in Washington, D.C., after the fourth round of U.S.-Cuba talks to re-establish diplomatic relations and re-open embassies, May 22, 2015.

Obama's first choice to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico was former presidential adviser Maria Echaveste, but she withdrew earlier this year citing a long confirmation process.

Analysts say the 53-year-old top official is the best candidate to take this position, as she is an expert in the complicated but strategic relations between Mexico and the U.S. Jacobson also served as director of the State Department's Office of Mexican Affairs from December 2002 to June 2007.

Furthermore, the transition from career civil servant to senior diplomat should not be difficult for Jacobson, since she was Deputy Chief of Mission in the United States’ Embassy in Peru from 2000 to 2002.

It is predictable that Jacobson's nomination will be passed by the Congress, as she is well known and accepted by both Democrats and Republicans.

Mexican journalist Dolia Estevez told teleSUR that President Obama considers the relationship with Mexico too important and complex to send a newcomer to fill the ambassadorial post.

Estevez, who wrote the book “The Ambassador” - a series of interviews with former U.S. ambassadors in Mexico, said that Jacobson's nomination also means that the Mexican government has already approved the decision.

“We hope that Mexico will hear the message and send a capable person, not someone on a whim, or someone who the president owes a favor to,” Estevez said referring to former Ambassador Eduardo Medina-Mora, who presented his resignation a few days ago.

The post of the U.S. ambassador for Mexico has not been an easy job, especially since former Ambassador Carlos Pascual, who served from 2009 to 2011 during the government of Felipe Calderon, resigned amid a row over leaked diplomatic cables, in which he doubted Mexico's ability to tackle drug gangs.

The two countries have also an important relationship in security since they have been sharing intelligence in a bid to tackle the drug gangs as violence continues to take a heavy toll in Mexico, with more than 70,000 people killed since 2006.

Meanwhile, Jacobson's work to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba will continue. Her nomination may suggest that the talks, aimed at Havana and Washington exchanging ambassadors, may be in their final stages.

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