Oddly, the State Department’s Web site on Wednesday said the ambassador was Carmen Lomellin, who assumed the post in 2009. But she left that job in December, and it’s completely open, without so much as a nominee announced for it.
Granted, the OAS — a U.N.-like organization of the 35 countries in the Western Hemisphere that aims to resolve disputes, promote democracy and such — is not what it used to be, Lomellin recently told CNN (in Spanish.)
The financial situation is “awful,” she said, and there have been numerous reductions in staff.
Still, it’s not as if we don’t have serious diplomatic concerns with places like Venezuela, Argentina or Colombia. The meeting is also newly elected OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro’s first.
And Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff, who angrily canceled a state visit here in 2013 after finding out that we’d tapped her personal communications, is scheduled to be here at the end of June.
Probably doesn’t help relations with the region when Washington can’t manage to fill the OAS ambassadorship, which has been held at various times by both career diplomats and political appointees.
Obama nominated former ambassador to El Salvador, Mari Carmen Aponte, to the job back in July 2014, but the Senate failed to confirm her during that session, and she wasn’t renominated this year.