San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Trump will immediately remove U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, other foreign diplomats from Obama era

There will be no grace period for U.S. ambassadors appointed under President Barack Obama once president-elect Donald Trump takes office in two weeks.

According to a Thursday report from the New York Times citing unnamed U.S. diplomats who were apparently relaying information from official State Department communication, Trump is breaking with decades of precedent by requiring the immediate withdrawal of all ambassadors worldwide who were Obama’s political appointees, without exception. Traditionally, new U.S. presidents have allowed a grace period before replacing ambassadors, both to ensure that gaps do not occur while the Senate confirms new appointees, and to avoid disruptions for ambassadors’ children in the middle of their school year.

The U.S. Embassy in San José confirmed to The Tico Times via email that S. Fitzgerald Haney, the U.S. ambassador to Costa Rica, will leave his post on Jan. 20 when Trump assumes the presidency.

Chargé d’Affaire Robin Matthewman, who has held her post since 2013, will fill in on an interim basis before Trump assigns his new diplomats.

By all accounts, Haney has been an effective ambassador during his 1.5-year term. Among other notable contributions, the ambassador has donated to local police efforts and has helped facilitate key talks between U.S. and Costa Rican politicians during the recent Cuban migrant crisis.

Haney’s wife Andrea has battled breast cancer while in Costa Rica and their four school-aged kids are all enrolled in local private schools. The U.S. Embassy did not comment on whether or not Haney’s family will stay in the country beyond his term as ambassador; however, The New York Times reported that Haney hopes to stay in Costa Rica so that his children can complete their school year here, and is searching for a home to rent for his family during that time.

Haney is originally from Englewood, New Jersey and has a wealth of experience in international business. In 2008, Fitzgerald and Andrea donated nearly $300,000 combined to the Obama campaign.

Contact Michael Krumholtz at

Log in to comment


As to the practice of “purchasing a ambassadorship”; I eagerly await Trump’s auction. I read on the internet that it will be held on Twitter and payment will be in Bitcoin via Rusbank.

0 0
Hachi No Shimai

Trump has really been a hard-liner with some of his moves. Costa Rica is not a hot-spot of diplomacy, and regardless of how Haney got his post, it would seem a lot more gracious to at least allow him to remain until his kids finish the school year or Trump has a replacement, whichever comes first. However, that’s all secondary to Trump’s choice for replacement. My main hope is that he will make a good choice for the next ambassador to Costa Rica.

0 0
John Amendola

I actually took the time to send my resume and qualifications for the position of Ambassador to Costa Rica to President elect Donald Trump .

I live in Costa Rica and I want to make a huge difference !

0 0
Paul Foerster

Haney purchased his Ambassadorship. The only qualification Obama looked for in naming an Ambassador to Costa Rica was the amount of contributions made to an election campaign. This disgusting action is indicative of Obama’s profound disrespect of Costa Rica. Costa Rica deserves better, much better.

0 0

Haney bought and paid for his Ambassadorship through Obama.

Under the Obama Administration the appointment of an Ambassadorship was basically no different than a “Tenant to Lanlord relationship.”

0 0