Washington, D.C. – In advance of this afternoon’s business meeting of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, U.S. Senator Marco Rubio issued the following statement announcing his intention to oppose the nominations of Roberta S. Jacobson to be Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Mari Carmen Aponte to be Ambassador to the Republic of El Salvador and Adam E. Namm to be Ambassador to the Republic of Ecuador:
“Rather than stand up to tyrants and promote democracy, this Administration’s policy towards Latin America has been defined by appeasement, weakness and the alienation of our allies. Earlier this year, I encouraged the Administration to seize these nominations as an opportunity to outline a plan to steer U.S. policy in the Western Hemisphere towards renewing America’s commitment to promoting democracy and free markets.
"But it has become clear that the Administration plans to continue business as usual in the region. This is unacceptable. Therefore, I will oppose these nominees in the Foreign Relations Committee, and reserve my right to block or vote against any other future Western Hemisphere nominees until the Administration takes meaningful action to change its policies. In particular, I encourage the administration to move quickly on three fronts.
“First, the U.S. should immediately adopt significant bilateral and regional measures to encourage a return to constitutional order in Nicaragua. Second, the U.S. should take immediate action to impose additional sanctions against the Cuban regime in response to the taking of American hostage Alan Gross. And third, the U.S. should commit to dedicating U.S. democracy funding in Cuba solely to activities that strictly adhere to Sec. 109 of the Libertad Act.”