The Cable

Two Latin America nominees held

Two Obama administration nominees for Latin America posts were held over at today's Senate Foreign Relations Committee business meeting: that of outgoing Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs Tom Shannon, who Obama has nominated to be his ambassador to Brazil, and Arturo Valenzuela, to succeed Shannon as assistant secretary for the bureau. All the other foreign-policy nominees, among them the nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Carlos Pascual, were voted out en bloc for consideration by the full Senate.

The hold is connected to U.S. policy to Honduras in the wake of the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya. During Valenzuela's July 8 confirmation hearing, a Hill foreign policy hand said, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) said the administration rushed to the aid of Cuban President Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez by supporting Zelaya's return. More from McClatchy.


The Cable

No skit at ASEAN

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Thailand today for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit, and North Korea tops the U.S. agenda for the annual meeting. But for the second year running, ASEAN will not be featuring one of its most famous traditions.

"No skit this year," a member of Clinton's delegation says. "They switched it for a proper dinner last year and seem to prefer the format. Honestly disappointed, thought it would be a highlight."

FP's Brian Fung remembers some of the best numbers from ASEAN's past.