The Cable

Valenzuela, Shannon voted out of committee

Two Obama administration Latin America post nominees whose nominations had been held up at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee over some conservative members' opposition to U.S. policy over ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya were voted out of committee today.

The nominees for Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs, Arturo Valuenzela, and U.S. Ambassador to Brazil, the outgoing Assistant Secretary, Tom Shannon, were subjected to a roll call vote at the insistence of Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) today. Valenzuela was reported out with a 15-4 vote.   Shannon was voted out 14-4, with Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) abstaning. Their nominations proceed to the full Senate.

Also today, the State Department announced that it was reviewing the diplomatic visas of members of what it called the "de facto regime" in Honduras, as well as those of those individuals' family members. "We have already revoked diplomatic visas issued to four such individuals who received their diplomatic visas in connection with positions held prior to June 28 under the Zelaya administration, but who now serve the de facto regime," spokesman Ian Kelly said in a statement. 

The Cable

Clinton to Africa

From a State Department press release:

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will begin a seven nation trip to Africa on August 5 at the 8th U.S. - Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (known as the AGOA Forum) in Nairobi, Kenya.

While in Kenya, Secretary Clinton will focus on the linkages between investment and economic growth, as well as the singular opportunities provided to African countries through the landmark African Growth and Opportunity Act.  The Secretary will be joined in Kenya by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk, and Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson. 

During the visit to Kenya, the Secretary will deliver a speech at the Ministerial Opening Ceremony for the AGOA Forum; participate in bilateral meetings with Kenya's senior leaders; and engage with members of civil society.

The Secretary will continue her travel with stops in South Africa, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Liberia, and Cape Verde.  In each nation, she will participate in bilateral discussions and public events in order to find new solutions to old challenges.  Her visit will underline America's commitment to collaborate with governments, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, and private citizens to build societies where each individual can realize their potential.  

In addition, while in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Secretary Clinton will highlight efforts to combat gender-based violence.  In both Nigeria and Liberia, the Secretary will bring attention to the Obama Administration's commitment to helping nation's around the world implement self-sufficient and sustainable food security.

Following closely on the President's trip to Accra, the Secretary will demonstrate our commitment to a partnership with Africa that is grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.  Africa no longer sits on the margins of U.S. diplomacy and international trade.  The continent is a source of creativity, dynamic development, and the Secretary will call for even stronger links with global markets and knowledge networks.

Following her visit to Cape Verde, the Secretary will return to Washington, DC.