NCLR APPLAUDS ADMINISTRATION’S APPOINTMENT OF MARIA DEL CARMEN APONTE




August 19 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 19, 2010

Contact:
Amanda Montez
(202) 785-1670

Washington, DC—NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, applauds President Obama’s decision to move forward with a Recess Appointment of Maria del Carmen Aponte, as the next U.S. Chief of Mission to the Republic of El Salvador.

The Hispanic community celebrated Ms. Aponte’s nomination last December as a positive step forward in the relationship between the United States and El Salvador; she was further welcomed by informed observers on U.S.-Latin American relations along the entire political spectrum as an inspired choice. Her distinguished career in the private sector, through her law practice, and in public service at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and in heading the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, make her uniquely qualified for this distinguished honor.

In addition, Ms. Aponte has a strong history of personal and professional leadership in the U.S. Latino community, specifically through her service on the board of directors of numerous national Hispanic-serving organizations, including her election as the first female Chair of the Hispanic National Bar Association.

“Ms. Aponte’s familiarity with the Salvadoran-American community makes her a natural choice for U.S. Chief of Mission to El Salvador,” said Janet Murguía, NCLR President and CEO. “The Senate’s delay in concluding her confirmation process has been unacceptable to the United State’s national interests and it is hard for us to believe, absent any evidence to the contrary, that any legitimate concerns can explain the repeated delays to which this nomination has been subjected.”

Following the approval of her nomination by the Foreign Relations Committee in April, Ms. Aponte’s confirmation vote was delayed by an anonymous “hold.” During her confirmation hearing in March, which was itself the subject of several delays, Ms. Aponte was questioned in detail by members of the Senate about a 20-years-gone romantic relationship with a Cuban national, then employed by the Cuban Interests Section. The FBI first investigated this issue in 1999, after which Ms. Aponte was granted a diplomatic security clearance and nominated for an ambassadorial position. She was again successfully vetted in 2009 by the FBI and the State Department, leading to her current nomination.

“The president’s decision to move forward with Ms. Aponte’s appointment should serve as a strong reminder to some members of the Senate that political games are never acceptable where our nation’s future is concerned,” concluded Murguía.

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