U.S. chargé leaves Cuba in ‘normal rotation,’ is replaced by his deputy

U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Jeffrey de Laurentis has left Cuba and been replaced by another career diplomat, Scott Hamilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Havana confirmed Tuesday (July 11) to The Miami Herald.

De Laurentis’ departure “is part of the normal rotation cycle of career diplomats,” the spokesman said. “Deputy Chief of Mission Scott Hamilton will serve as the chargé d’affaires, ad interim, until further notice. [President Trump] will decide when and if we nominate an ambassador to Cuba.”

Scott Hamilton will serve as the chargé d’affaires.

The State Department’s roster of chiefs of mission lists the Cuba post as “vacant.”

The Cuban website Cubadebate published an Associated Press report on the changeover on Wednesday (July 12). The Cuban Foreign Ministry did not immediately comment on it.

Hamilton’s Linked-In page describes him as follows:

“Scott Hamilton is a Senior Foreign Service Officer, class of Minister Counselor, who has focused his career on Latin America and Africa. He assumed his current position as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Havana, Cuba on July 20, 2015.

“He most recently served as the State Department’s Director for Central American Affairs, July 2013-15, with responsibility for political and economic policy support and coordination between the Department and seven Embassies in the regions of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama.

“Previously he served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Botswana from 2009 to 2012 […] He has also served as the Department’s Deputy Director for East African Affairs, and as a political advisor at the U.S. Mission to the Organization of American States. His other overseas assignments include Ecuador, Colombia, South Africa (twice), and Russia.

“A 2013 Distinguished Graduate of the National War College, Hamilton also holds degrees from Harvard Law School (JD, 1989) and from Oxford University (BA, Politics, Philosophy, and Economics, 1986). He practiced law in Chicago from 1989 to 1992.”

His wife’s name is Isabel; they have two children. According to his Embassy profile, Hamilton “was born in Scotland and is an enthusiast photographer and lifelong supporter of soccer teams Hibernian and Manchester United.”

[Photo at top of Jeffrey de Laurentis, Roberta Jacobson of the U.S. (center) and Josefina Vidal of Cuba during diplomatic negotiations in Havana in 2014.]

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