Sunday, August 1

Who is Ken Salazar ?: the “cowboy” that Biden nominated as ambassador to Mexico

President Joe Biden officially announced this Tuesday the nomination of the former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar to serve as the new Ambassador to Mexico, subject to the ratification by the US Upper House shortly.

The nomination had received the go-ahead from Mexico two weeks ago, Mexican media reported.

A 55-year-old attorney, Salazar was the United States Secretary of the Interior for the first four years of the administration of Barack Obama between 2009 and 2013 and had previously been elected Senator for Colorado between 2005 and 2009. Salazar currently works as a lawyer.

“(Ken Salazar) is a partner at WilmerHale, an American law firm and founder of the firm’s Denver office. Salazar represents clients in matters of energy, environment, natural resources and Native Americans ”said the White House in the biographical file.

With the White House emphasizing that his native language is Spanish, Salazar is a Democratic politician born into a family that has been settled in the San Luis Valley in southern Colorado since before the United States took control of that territory with the invasion of 1848.

Ken Salazar
Ken Salazar with Joe Biden.

If the US Senate ratified his nomination, Salazar would be the first Hispanic to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico since Republican Tony Garza arrived in the country in 2002 and would occupy the place left vacant by Christopher Landau in January of this year.

Previously in April, the Axios news portal had already advanced that Biden’s team was carrying out the necessary preliminary exploration before making Salazar’s nomination official and without other potential candidates for the position being known publicly.

Biden also nominated ambassadors to Costa Rica, Paraguay, NATO and Israel.

As an ambassador to Costa Rica, Biden nominated the philanthropist and doctor Cynthia Ann Telles, a clinical professor in the Department of Psychiatry and director of the Spanish-speaking Psychosocial Clinic at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), who is fluent in Spanish, according to the White House.

To represent Washington in Paraguay, the chosen one is Marc Ostfield, a career diplomat who now serves as an ombudsman for the State Department and has more than 30 years of experience in foreign policy, including as coordinator of health programs in Latin America, in addition to speaking Spanish.

Biden also appointed as ambassador to NATO Julianne Smith, an adviser to the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, who is an expert in transatlantic and defense policy and who has worked in the White House and the Pentagon.

Smith, who speaks German and French as well as English, was also an advisor to Biden himself when he was vice president between 2012 and 2013, the White House said.

As head of mission in Israel, Biden chose Thomas Nides, who was Undersecretary of State for Management and Resources between 2010 and 2013, and now serves as Managing Director and Vice President of investment bank Morgan Stanley.

In addition, the president appointed ambassadors to Sri Lanka, Guinea and the Gambia; and nominated as head of the United States before ICAO the captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberg, whose prowess landing an Airbus A320 over the Hudson River off the coast of New York made him a national hero in 2009, and inspired a movie named after him.

With information from EFE and Agencia Reforma

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