Mari Del Carmen Aponte will finally become the next ambassador to El Salvador, although without confirmation by the full Senate. President Obama used a recess appointment to get around a Republican hold on the progress of her nomination which had been pending since last December.
Washington Latin America hands say Aponte’s confirmation was held up by Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho) over a past relationship with a Cuban American who had alleged contact with the Cuban interests section, although nothing shown to be illicit. “No big deal, but given the utter nuttiness about Cuba among some, she wasn’t getting confirmed,” one Latin America hand explained.
Aponte’s confirmation had been strongly championed by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who praised Obama's decision to move forward with the recess appointment today.
“Republicans in the Senate have deployed a strategy of broadly obstructing presidential appointments in order to grind the people’s business to a halt, and it was tremendously disappointing that they chose to delay Ms. Aponte’s confirmation as part of this strategy," Menendez said in a statement. "Furthermore, it is shameful that they raised an issue from the distant past, which has been fully answered, to tar Ms. Aponte.
Ms. Aponte's background shows her to be a good choice as the next ambassador to El Salvador:
Mari Del Carmen Aponte is currently an attorney and independent consultant with Aponte Consulting. From 2001-2004, Ms. Aponte was the Executive Director of the Puerto Rican Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA). Prior to that, she practiced law for nearly twenty years with Washington D.C. based law firms. Ms. Aponte also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the National Council of La Raza and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. She is also a member of the Board of the University of the District of Columbia and Rosemont College. She served as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association; the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia; and is a member of the District of Columbia Judicial Nominations Commission. In 2005, she was also elected to the Board of Directors of Oriental Financial Group (NYSE-OFG). In 1979, as a White House Fellow, Ms. Aponte was Special Assistant to the United States Housing and Urban Development Secretary Moon Landrieu. Ms. Aponte has a B.A. in Political Science from Rosemont College, a M.A. in Theatre from Villanova University, and a J.D. from Temple University.