Obama nominates ambassador to Cuba
September 29, 2016
President Barack Obama today announced his intent to nominate Jeffrey DeLaurentis, the chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Havana, as ambassador to Cuba.
Analysts said the move was bold because it is bound to run into opposition from conservatives in the Senate, but Obama said in a statement that he was proud to nominate DeLaurentis because his leadership
Obama said DeLaurentis's leadership "has been vital throughout the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and the appointment of an ambassador is a common sense step forward toward a more normal and productive relationship between our two countries."
Obama noted that DeLaurentis has served as chief of mission in Havana since August 2014, and was posted to Havana twice before.
“... the appointment of an ambassador is a common sense step forward toward a more normal and productive relationship between our two countries.” Barack Obama, president of the United States
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"Jeff is already working with Cuba on issues that advance U.S. national interests, such as law enforcement, counternarcotics, environmental protection, combatting trafficking in persons, expanding commercial and agricultural opportunities, and cooperation in science and health," Obama said.
"Having an ambassador will make it easier to advocate for our interests, and will deepen our understanding even when we know that we will continue to have differences with the Cuban government. He is exactly the type of person we want to represent the United States in Cuba, and we only hurt ourselves by not being represented by an ambassador."
DeLaurentis is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, and has been serving in Havana since 2014.
Before that, DeLaurentis served as ambassador and alternate representative for special political affairs at the U.S. mission to the United Nations from 2011 to 2014.
Before that posting, he was deputy assistant secretary of State for the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, and earlier served as minister counselor for political affairs and Security Council coordinator at the U.S. mission.
He served twice before in Havana, first as consular officer from 1991 to 1993, then as Political-Economic Section chief from 1999 to 2002.
He also served as political counselor at the U.S. mission to the United Nations in Geneva, and political counselor at the U.S. embassy in Bogota.
In Washington, he served as executive assistant to the undersecretary of State for democracy and global affairs, special assistant to the assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, director of Inter-American affairs at the National Security Council, and as an international relations officer in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.
Before entering the foreign service, he held a senior staff position at the Council on Foreign Relations.
DeLaurentis received a bachelor of science degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an master of arts degree from Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs.
The Congressional Research Service last week released a study on the limitations and prospects for U.S. trade with Cuba. The study notes that there are limitations on U.S. agricultural exports to Cuba but that the Agriculture Department "sees potential sizable gains in farm exports to Cuba."
–The Hagstrom Report