EL ESPECTADOR, December 4, 2023


(Translated by Eunice Gibson, CSN Volunteer Translator)

She is a career diplomat who has served, among other posts, as Ambassador to El Salvador.

President Joe Biden has finally appointed someone to the United States Embassy in Colombia. She is a career diplomat, Jean Elizabeth Manes, and comes from Florida.

The appointment, which has to receive the green light from the Senate in Washington, will bring to an end the temporary status of Francisco Palmieri, who has been in charge of the diplomatic mission in Bogotá since June of last year, after the departure of Phillip Goldberg, who left to head the United States Embassy in South Korea.

Manes is 52 years old and has received a number of awards during her career. At present, she serves as civilian counselor at the United States Army’s Southern Command.

Between 2016 and 2019, she was the Ambassador to El Salvador, where she had functioned as chargé d´affaires. However, as she left her position in that country, she asserted that the administration of Nayib Bukele had not shown signs of improving its relationship with the United States.

She has also worked in US Embassies in Afghanistan, Portugal, Brazil, Uruguay, and Syria. 

Manes has a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and International Relations, and speaks Spanish and Portuguese fluently, according to a White House communication.

In the United States, adds the communication, she has worked in the State Department as Principal Assistant Coordinator of the Office of International Information Programs, and as Resource Manager for the Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.

She is the second woman to lead the Embassy (after Anne Patterson, U. S. Ambassador between 2000 and 2003, during the administration of George W. Bush), and she will emphasize the matters that are fundamental to the bilateral relationship, such as the new focus on the war on drugs that both governments have brought to the table.

Although in his most recent visit to Washington, Foreign Minister Álvaro Leyva stressed that the relationship between the two countries is at a good stage, there are sensitive topics in which there are some differences.

For example, in the area of migration, Colombia has asked for the elimination of tourist visa requirements, and for humanitarian relief for fellow countrymen in the United States, known as DED, which the Gustavo Petro administration requested last November.

On both points, however, the prospects are not favorable for Colombia right now.

Brian Nichols, United States Undersecretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, in an interview with the journalist Gustau Alegret, of NTN24, explained that it’s not easy to justify the DED that Colombia is requesting. “There are several factors to be considered; I think that the security situation in Colombia is good compared with previous years, and with regard to political stability (. . .) things are going well in Colombia (. . .). We have always looked carefully at that, but for me, when things are going so well, it’s difficult to justify that action.”

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