Drama in the Senate: The Aponte Chronicles

Drama in the Senate: The Aponte Chronicles

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Mari Carmen Aponte has been serving as the US Ambassador to El Salvador because of a recess appointment. The GOP in the Senate has been holding up the confirmation process for this position for over a year.

At first, Senators DeMint and Risch were holding things up because of a former relationship Aponte had with a Cuban born man who was connected to Cuban interests.

But, Aponte had passed FBI clearances and was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the spring of 2010. Now DeMint is upset that Aponte is advocating for some tolerance of the gay population in El Salvador; back in June of this year, she wrote a piece in an El Salvador daily calling for the tolerance and respect of gay and transgender people.

As reported by the AP:

“In a Spanish-language piece titled, “For the Elimination of Prejudices Wherever They Exist,” Aponte wrote: “No one should be subjected to aggression because of who he is or who he loves. Homophobia and brutal hostility  are often based on lack of understanding about what it truly means to be gay or transgender. To avoid negative perceptions, we must work together with education and support for those facing those who promote hatred.”

In the op-ed, Aponte noted that the United States and El Salvador were among more than 80 nations that had signed a U.N. declaration for the elimination of violence against gays and lesbians. She also pointed out that El Salvador President Mauricio Funes had signed a decree in May 2010 prohibiting discrimination by the government based on sexual orientation.”

So advocating for some sort of tolerance and understanding in a country where transgender and gays have experienced a history of discrimination and rights violations is now a reason for DeMint and others to put the kibosh on the work that Ambassador Aponte has already been doing.

Even Senator Marco Rubio is getting in on the action opposing the Aponte confirmation because of what is going on in Nicaragua and because he feels that more sanctions should be imposed on Cuba.

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