In addition to the following report on the quid pro quo that allowed Shannon’s confirmation to proceed, the new ambassador to Brazil will be used to gnaw at Chavez’ (and others’) ankles. The variety of overthrow scenarios in the Shannon pipeline appears to be endless.
December 24, 2009
Senate confirms envoy to Brazil after State gives LeMieux assurances on Cuba policy
Thomas A. Shannon Jr., former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, on Thursday was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. Ambassador to Brazil after Senator George LeMieux (R-Fla.) lifted a “hold” on his nomination in exchange for State Department assurances on U.S. policy toward Cuba and Honduras. For background, read our Dec. 17 blog item “Senator gets assurances…”
So what did LeMieux get – in terms of Cuba – for releasing his “hold” on Shannon? An undated letter to the senator from Shannon’s successor at State, Arturo Valenzuela, describes the concessions.
1. “The State Department will continue to encourage all Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to apply for [fiscal year] 2009 projects. Every NGO will receive equal and fair treatment in the screening process. […] we will keep you and your staff fully apprised […] and consult closely with you on the nature and objectives of U.S. democracy programs in Cuba.”
2. The U.S. Interests Section in Havana (USINT) “will continue to include members of the dissident community in its major events. A broad cross-section of human rights defenders, dissidents, former political prisoners, independent librarians, independent writers and artists, and civil rights activists […] will continue to be invited to events hosted by the USINT […] and will continue to be standard guests for such occasions. […]
“Whenever a senior U.S. government official travels to Havana, USINT […] will continue to do its utmost to ensure that members of the dissident community have an opportunity to interact meaningfully with that official.”
3. “With respect to Title IV sanctions, we also affirm that the Department continues to enforce these sanctions.” [Title IV of the Helms-Burton Act bars entry into the United States to senior officials or major stock holders, and their families, of companies that do business in Cuba on property expropriated from American citizens.]
–Renato Pérez Pizarro, with thanks to Lesley Clark.