US Senate set to confirm Shannon to Latin post

September 20, 2005

Financial Times- Richard Lapper

n important US congressional committee is on Wednesday likely to confirm the appointment of Tom Shannon to the post of assistant secretary of state for western hemisphere affairs, paving the way for a more consistent US approach towards Latin America.

Under President George W. Bush the two previous holders of the post – considered to be the most powerful in terms of shaping US policy towards the region – have enjoyed poor relations with legislators. Controversy surrounding Otto Reich, a rightwing Cuban American whose appointment was never confirmed by Congress, and Roger Noriega, who was much criticised, has coincided with a decline in US influence in the region. Critics say both men were over-ideological in their approach, in part a reflection of their links to the rightwing Cuban-American lobby.

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