War on Drugs

State Department Pulls From Afghanistan to Fill Ambassador to Mexico Slot


The Houston Chronicle is reporting that President Obama will nominate Earl Anthony Wayne, a career diplomat currently stationed in Afghanistan, to fill the spot of Carlos Pascual, whose resignation was thrown at the feet of Mexican President Felipe Calderon earlier this year. Here's the Chronicle

The appointment of Wayne, currently serving as the No. 2 in the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan, will require acceptance from both the U.S. Senate and the Mexican government. If approved, he will replace Carlos Pascual, another career diplomat who resigned in March under harsh criticism from Mexican President Felipe Calderon. 

The news of Wayne's nomination led Mexican news websites Tuesday morning. But the White House and State Department did not immediately confirm the nomination.

Wayne has been a foreign service officer for 36 years, except for a two-year stint in the late 1980s when he worked as the national security reporter for the Christian Science Monitor. Through a wide-ranging diplomatic career, Wayne has gained expertise in economic and energy issues, according to the State Department.

He was named ambassador to Argentina in 2006 by then-President George W. Bush and has held a number of posts focused on economic and energy issues throughout his career.

Wayne would take the reins in Mexico as the Calderon government's crackdown on organized crime remains far from successful. Ambassador Pascual ran afoul of Calderon when his leaked diplomatic cables criticizing the Mexican government's efforts were published last December by WikiLeaks, the muckraking website.

Wayne's job in Kabul is supporting economic development, but he's done some drug work. President George W. Bush sent him to Argentina in 2006, where part of Wayne's job was to encourage the Argentine Government to crack down on traffickers.  "We're concerned about the rapid growth in illegal trafficking of chemical precursors such as ephedrine," Wayne said in a TV interview. When he left his post three years later, he said this in his farewell address: "During my time here we have been diligent in informing you about steps we have taken to advance bilateral relations whether it be in the fight against drugs or in providing more scholarships for young people to study English."

That stuff comes standard with most ambassadors. It'll be interesting to see what Wayne says during his confirmation hearing about Mexico's stability.