Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs: Who Is Arturo Valenzuela
To repair relations with this country’s Latin American neighbors, President Obama has turned to a leading academic who was born and raised in South America and has studied the region his entire adult life. Arturo Valenzuela is a specialist on Chile, the origins and consolidation of democracy in Latin America,, Latin American politics, and U.S.-Latin American relations. Even before his confirmation, Valenzuela became embroiled in a policy dispute over Latin American policy. In his Senate testimony, Valenzuela condemned the June 2009 military coup against the elected President of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, as an “unconstitutional removal of power.” Apparently taking offense, ultra-conservative Republican Senator Jim DeMint postponed the Committee vote on Valenzuela as a way of protesting the Obama administration’s stand against the coup.
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