Mari Carmen Aponte officially took office as ambassador in Panama
After 4 years, the United States assigns someone to this diplomatic position.
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After her arrival in the Central American country this Wednesday, the official presented a copy of her credentials to Chancellor Janaina Tewainey at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Upon her arrival, Aponte highlighted:
I am delighted to be in Panama, after a long wait I am finally on Panamanian soil, and I look forward to meeting all Panamanians, a Puerto Rican hug to all.
Aponte, who served as the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador from 2012 to 2016, as well as Acting Assistant Secretary for the State Department's Office of Western Hemisphere Affairs, is a renowned lawyer and civic leader, and is the first Puerto Rican woman to hold this type of position.
The White House had informed in October 2021 about Aponte's nomination, a decision confirmed at the end of last September by the Senate that led to Aponte being sworn in earlier this month by Judge Sonia Sotomayor.
Since 2018, when the former ambassador John Feeley resigned from the embassy arguing differences with the president of the day, Donald Trump, the diplomatic position had remained deserted.
After Feeley's departure, the diplomatic mission was led by Roxanne Cabral, as business manager, and was succeeded by Stewart Tuttle, who led the embassy until before Aponte's arrival.
“Panama is very important for the United States, the bilateral relationship is extremely valuable. I am here to underline that relationship and strengthen it," added Aponte.