San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Ortega taps Francisco Campbell as new ambassador to U.S.

President Daniel Ortega´s recent nomination of Francisco Campbell as the new Nicaraguan Ambassador to the United States is being applauded by Arturo Cruz Jr., the last person to the hold the job.

Campbell, a native of the southern Caribbean port town of Bluefields and a former Sandinista ambassador to various African countries during the revolutionary Sandinista government of the 1980s, is currently a member of the Central American Parliament, based in Guatemala. His nomination as ambassador to the U.S. would fill a post that has been vacant for more than a year.

Cruz, who held the ambassador´s post for the first two years of the Ortega administration, says Campbell is an “intelligent choice” as his long-delayed successor in Washington, D.C.

In a phone interview from El Salvador this week, Cruz told The Nica Times that Campbell would make a good ambassador because of his previous diplomatic experience, his “social sophistication” as part of Nicaragua´s educated “Creole elite,” and because of his ties to the Caribbean coast.

Campbell´s Caribbean roots, Cruz said, will help not only with Black Caucus in Washington, but also with the other Caribbean countries that have diplomatic representation in the U.S. capital. “This will give [ Nicaragua ] special access to other Caribbean nations. It will open doors,” Cruz said.

However, Cruz said, the next Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States will have his work cut out for him. Not only will he have to explain the actions of the Nicaraguan government to the U.S. Congress and Department of State, but also to civil society, non-governmental organizations and Washington think tanks.

“He´s going to have a lot of explaining to do,” Cruz said.

In order for Campbell´s nomination to become a reality, he must first be accepted by the U.S. Congress and then be ratified by the Nicaraguan National Assembly. The process is expected to take six to eight weeks.

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