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Roberta Jacobson confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Mexico

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.

English 28/04/2016 19:27 AP Actualizada 19:29
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The Senate has confirmed President Barack Obama's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico, clearing the way for the first woman to hold what is considered to be one of the country's most important diplomatic posts.

Roberta Jacobson's nomination was approved by voice vote Thursday.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., had been blocking Jacobson's nomination. The former Republican presidential candidate had objected to her role in negotiating the normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba.

Jacobson is the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs. That position gave her a prominent voice in leading talks with Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties and embassies after more than five decades of antagonism.

Secretary of State John Kerry chided Rubio in February for blocking Jacobson's nomination, saying the senator was punishing a highly qualified candidate who did nothing wrong.

"He's out there running for president. He has ample opportunity to make his case about the policy," Kerry said of Rubio before Rubio dropped out of the race. "But don't punish the country because you're angry about what happened."

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.

Obama selected Jacobson for the post in June and she was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee nomination in early November by a vote of 12-7. Rubio voted against her in committee.

Obama's previous nominee to be ambassador to Mexico, Maria 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 five months following her nomination.

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