San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
U.S. Foreign Policy

White House names Democratic donor as nominee for ambassador to Costa Rica

S. Fitzgerald Haney, President Obama’s pick for the next U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica.

Courtesy U.S. Embassy in San José

After more than a year without an ambassador in Costa Rica, the White House on Tuesday finally announced its choice to head the United States’ diplomatic mission here.

The Obama administration named S. Fitzgerald Haney, an international businessman with experience in marketing, financial services and manufacturing in Latin America, as its pick for the next ambassador to Costa Rica. Most recently, Haney has been a principal and director of business development and client services for Europe, Middle East and Africa at Pzena Investment Management in New York City. He has held the position since 2007.

Haney and his wife, Rabbi Andrea Haney, are prominent donors to U.S. President Barack Obama and other Democrats. Since 2008, Fitzgerald Haney has donated $84,303. Andrea Haney donated $192,252 to Obama’s 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns and other Democratic candidates, according to Federal Election Commission records. Andrea Haney was the only one of the couple who gave directly to Obama, donating $4,506. She also contributed $62,00 to Obama political action committees (PACs).

Fitzgerald Haney earned a Bachelor of Science in international economics and a Master of Science from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in international business and diplomacy. Haney has worked in Mexico, Brazil, Israel and Puerto Rico during his career, among other places. He speaks Spanish, Portuguese, Hebrew and is conversant in French, according to a biography provided by the U.S. Embassy in San José.

The nominee was born in Nashville, Tennessee, and grew up outside Chicago in Naperville, Illinois. Fitzgerald and Andrea Haney live in Englewood, New Jersey, with their four children.

Fitzgerald Haney must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee before he can assume the ambassadorship. The U.S. mission in Costa Rica has been headed by Chargé d’Affaires Gonzalo Gallegos since Ambassador Anne S. Andrew left the post more than a year ago.

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Ken Morris

Yes, of course, ambassadorships go to political contributors, but the strange thing is that this guy seems qualified. You’d think he’d be appointed ambassador to a country where the US wants a competent person, not to Costa Rica, where the pattern seems to be to appoint seat-warmers who can be tapped to do the periodic bidding of the administration. I wonder if we’ll finally see some more sense out of the US embassy here.

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Actually, the nominee must be confirmed by the full U.S. Senate, and approval by its Foreign Relations Committee is a part of that process. Since this is clearly a “political” appointment, we can expect hearings as to his qualifications.

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Danny Lee Gibson

A large political donor — for either party — seems to be ”awarded” the ambassadorships — fortunately this fellow ”can speak Spanish”!!

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