Politics & Government

Obama names Aponte El Salvador ambassador in recess appointment

President Barack Obama on Thursday appointed as ambassador to El Salvador a lawyer whose nomination to the post had been blocked in the Senate because of questions about her links to Cuban diplomats.

Obama used a congressional recess appointment, which allows him to sidestep the Senate confirmation process, to make Mari Carmen Aponte ambassador to the Central American nation.

Aponte was cleared by the FBI after questions about her contacts with Cuban diplomats in Washington first became public in 1998, when President Bill Clinton nominated her as ambassador to the Dominican Republic. She withdrew amid opposition from Senate Republicans.

Obama nominated her to the El Salvador post this year and the Senate Foreign Relations committee approved her in April. Sen. Jim DeMint, R-SC, later put a hold on her nomination, to block a full Senate vote, saying he wanted to look at Aponte's FBI file.

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