The Rumors: Appointments for Latin America-focused positions

Latin America and the Caribbean

The Obama Administration has not announced its appointments for important Latin America-focused posts, including assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs, deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere affairs, or National Security Council senior director on Latin America. However, that does not stop the speculation. Foreign Policy magazine's The Cable blog has been a frequent source of the latest rumors. Here are their speculations about who might get these top Latin America jobs. While these names are not official, most of the rumors that we have heard run along similar lines. From the February 23 post, "Names: The ambassadors":

Jeff Davidow, the former assistant secretary of state for Latin American affairs, has taken a leave from the Institute of the Americas to serve as the envoy preparing for the next Summit of the Americas, sources confirmed.... Tom Shannon, the assistant secretary of state for Western hemispheric affairs, is expected to stay on the job through the spring, when he is likely to be succeeded by Arturo Valenzuela. Afterwards, Shannon is expected to be named ambassador to Brazil or Argentina.

From the February 11 post, "Names: Latin America, NEA and DoD":

Sources tell The Cable that former Clinton-era NSC official Arturo Valenzuela is likely to be tapped as assistant secretary for Western hemispheric affairs, but that he is not expected to take up the post until after the spring semester ends. Valenzuela, professor and director of Georgetown University's Center for Latin American Studies, did not respond to a query. Still undecided is who will get the job of NSC senior director on Latin America. Among the top contenders, Latin America watchers tell The Cable, former NSC official and veteran CIA analyst Fulton Armstrong, now an aide to Sen. Chris Dodd, and Dan Restrepo, a former aide to Lee Hamilton (an informal Obama advisor) on the House International Relations Committee now with the Center for American Progress. Neither could be reached for comment. Armstrong's bid is said to be complicated by bureaucratic rules involving drawing a government pension while taking an executive branch salary.