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.