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.