Hemispheric affairs post, long vacant, may soon be filled

Kimberly Breier will be appointed Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, “multiple sources” have told The Global Americans, a research and analysis website specializing in coverage of Latin America.

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The unconfirmed report is published as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson tours five hemispheric countries in search of support for U.S. efforts to topple Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

According to the research group, “since June 2017, Breier has worked for the State Department as a member of policy planning staff covering the Western Hemisphere. Prior to joining the State Department, Breier served as director of the [George W. Bush Center’s] U.S.-Mexico Futures Initiative and Deputy Director of the Americas Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). She has also served as a director for the Western Hemisphere on the National Security Council Staff.”

Michael Matera, director of the CSIS, adds that Breier “served for more than a decade in the intelligence community as a political analyst and manager. From 2005 to 2006, she worked in the White House on the staff of the National Security Council as director of Mexican and Canadian affairs.”

The post for which Breier reportedly is being considered is, according to the State Department, “responsible for managing and promoting U.S. interests in the region by supporting democracy, trade, and sustainable economic development, and fostering cooperation on issues such as drug trafficking and crime, poverty reduction, environmental protection, citizen safety, strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law, economic and social inclusion, energy, and climate change.”

It is temporarily occupied by Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Francisco Palmieri.

The former holder of the post was Roberta S. Jacobson, who served from March 2012 to May 2016. Jacobson was a key player in the U.S.-Cuba negotiations that led in 2014 to a breakthrough in positive relations between the two countries. Her chemistry with her counterpart, Cuban negotiator Josefina Vidal, was described throughout the talks as cordial, respectful and results-oriented.

Jacobson has been U.S. Ambassador to Mexico since May 2016.

[Photo at top of Secretary of State Tillerson in Mexico City Friday (Feb. 1), in a quick grip ‘n’ grin with President Enrique Peña Nieto; between them stands Foreign Minister Luis Vedagaray.]

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