Senator LeMieux On Wrong Track with anti-Cuba Political Action Committee and State Department Hold


George LeMieux.jpgKind of sad when you see a Freshman US Senator get appointed and immediately hijacked by lobbying groups who have deeply parochial interests that run against the nation’s and even Senator George LeMieux‘s own state of Florida.
Last night, the US Senate finally moved to confirm Obama-nominated Georgetown Professor Arturo Valenzuela as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemispheric Affairs and the incumbent in that job, Thomas Shannon, as US Ambassador to Brazil. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Senate itself was able to finally overcome the holds placed by Senator Jim DeMint who has been waging a one man battle to get someone to pay respect to Honduras coup officials.
But as the machinery for the vote was unfolding, the recently appointed frosh Senator George LeMieux (R-FL) — appointed to fill Senator Mel Martinez’s vacated seat — placed a hold on Shannon’s nomination, allegedly at the behest of the US-Cuba Democracy PAC that is ticked for Shannon’s handling of the Cuba OAS resolution earlier this year.
I hope that Barack Obama’s team — including National Security Council Western Hemisphere Director Dan Restrepo — and those higher up the chain like NSC Deputy Tom Donilon — get a sense of who the reasonable players in the US-Cuba policy debate are who are working hard for Obamaesque strategies with Cuba — vs. those who are still trying to keep the freezers blowing on the last refuge of the Cold War.
— Steve Clemons


3 comments on “Senator LeMieux On Wrong Track with anti-Cuba Political Action Committee and State Department Hold

  1. John McAuliff says:

    No doubt Senator LeMieux is carrying water for his former boss and friend, Governor Christ. Christ is under pressure from the tea party conservatives and right wing Cuban Americans who are backing his chief rival in the Republican primary. When Rubio led the Florida legislature he distinguished himself by getting measures passed against academic involvement with Cuba which were so extreme they were thrown out by the courts.
    LeMieux and Christ are tarnishing their credentials as moderates by playing to the Cuban American ultras.
    It is good that Valenzuela is finally confirmed. Finally the Administration can get serious about modernizing Cuba policy.
    Shannon also deserves his position in Brazil,
    John McAuliff
    Fund for Reconciliation and Development


  2. Steve Clemons says:

    Zathras – You’d be surprised perhaps to know that I agree with you. Been rushing about today but you are absolutely right that our relationship with Brazil is a key relationship, and I have written that in the past and spoken about it — though i cant expect you to be up on all I have written or said. My views on Cuba are not a hobbyhorse…they have merit in a different context and do not obscure my shared assessment with you that Brazil is vital to us.
    Steve Clemons


  3. Zathras says:

    It’s too bad Steve Clemons determination to make Cuba his personal hobbyhorse has obscured his understanding that Sen. LeMieux’s hold impacts our policy toward Brazil. That would be the country that matters in Latin America, and it would be a mistake for the Obama administration not to come down on this jumped-up former staffer with both feet for running our policy toward Brazil aground.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *