Obama nominates Roberta Jacobson as Ambassador to Mexico

If confirmed by the Senate, the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs would be the first woman to hold what is considered one of the most U.S. important diplomatic posts.

English 02/06/2015 09:53 J. Jaime Hernández / Corresponsal Actualizada 09:53

Roberta Jacobson, Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, was nominated by President Barack Obama to be the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. 

Not long ago, Jacobson agreed to answer the following question from EL UNIVERSAL:

Would you say that the old quote of General Porfirio Díaz, "Poor Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States" continues to be relevant today? Almost immediately, Jacobson replied:

"If you check the pages of EL UNIVERSAL in the last 98 years, you will find ample evidence that our bilateral relationship has been consistently reinforced and adapted in light of the new challenges.

"We have become much more than two countries that share a border of three thousand kilometers. Especially in the last 20 years we have come to accept our shared destiny and potential of a much deeper integration and like never before."

Few officials know the country as well as Jacobson, who has never hidden her interest and fascination with Mexico. Over the last years, she has been behind each bilateral cooperation program between Mexico and the United States, either to strengthen the fight against cartels, the justice system or human rights or to promote trade.

The consensus among experts and analysts is that Jacobson is perhaps the official of the US Department of State that has interacted more with Congress. She is known by Democrats and Republicans alike. It is very difficult for anyone to question her suitability.

If confirmed by the Senate, Jacobson would be the first woman to hold what is considered one of the most U.S. important diplomatic posts due to the countries' proximity and key relationship.

Obama's previous nominee, MarÍa Echaveste, withdrew from consideration in late January, citing a prolonged nomination process and the interests of her family. She had not received a confirmation hearing in the Senate in the five months since her name was put forward.

Mexico's government welcomed Jacobson's nomination. "She knows this country very well, which is something that pleases us greatly," Foreign Relations Secretary José Antonio Meade said.

Jacobson is a career diplomat who previously served as deputy chief of mission in Peru, director of the State Department's Office of Mexican Affairs and deputy assistant secretary for Canada, Mexico and NAFTA issues.

As assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs she has been prominent in leading U.S. negotiators in talks with Cuba on re-establishing diplomatic ties and embassies after more than five decades of antagonism.

Jacobson would replace Anthony Wayne, the U.S. envoy to Mexico since 2011. Wayne's predecessor, Carlos Pascual, resigned amid a diplomatic flap after leaked diplomatic cables showed him criticizing the anti-drug strategy of then-Mexican President Felipe Calderón.

(With information from AP)