WASHINGTON – U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday called on Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio to stop “punishing” Mexico by blocking the nomination of Roberta Jacobson as ambassador to that country, whereby the Florida senator is seeking to express his opposition to U.S. policy toward Cuba.
Jacobson, who was the chief U.S. negotiator in the talks to reestablish diplomatic relations with Havana, has been waiting for eight months to be confirmed as envoy to Mexico, a post for which she was nominated last June by President Barack Obama.
The obstruction of the nomination by Rubio, who has made use of the authority of senators to impose a temporary blockade on Jacobson’s appointment, has thus prevented it from being put to a vote in the full Senate.
Rubio is one of the biggest critics of the policy of opening toward Cuba, in which Jacobson, who currently is serving as assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, had a key role.
“He’s out there running for president, he has ample opportunity to make his case about the policy,” said Kerry regarding Rubio. “But don’t punish the country because you’re angry about what happened.”
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee in November approved Jacobson’s nomination, but Rubio’s blockade prevents it from coming to a vote.
On Tuesday, Kerry said that the vacancy in the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, which has gone for at least six months without an ambassador, makes the United States look “stupid” and constitutes an “insult” to the Mexican government.