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Adios, We Hardly Knew You

In a (Cinco de Mayo) e-mail to State Department personnel, the Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, resigned yesterday:

I wanted to advise you that I announced at  the WHA Directors meeting this morning my intention to return to my duties as Professor of Government at Georgetown.  As you may know the University gave me a two year leave of absence to serve in the Administration—and those two years have come to an end this Spring.   Although the exact date of my departure has not been set, it will take place sometime later this Summer.   I wanted to make sure that each of you received this news before you read it in the press.   It is the nature of Washington that this information is already seeping into the public arena.   Although, I will continue to have the privilege of working with you for a few more weeks, I wanted to express to you that it has been a tremendous honor to serve with you in advancing Inter-American relations and US interests in the Americas.   I have been deeply engaged in Hemispheric affairs for my entire professional career and I know that our paths will continue to cross in the years ahead. With very best wishes, Arturo Valenzuela

As he is on his way out, for now, we’ll reserve commentary on his tenure; however, regional policy folks will be interested to see if he ever talks about what he thinks they accomplished during the past two years. Overall, the Obama Administration’s Western Hemisphere team could use a shake-up.

On Honduras, they turned their back on a loyal ally. Cuba? They are coddling the dictators. Free trade agreements … tumbleweed. They even allowed themselves to be talked in to allowing Colombia, one of our better partners in the region, to extradite a known drug kingpin with likely terrorist ties to, of all places, Venezuela.

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