Editorial: Marco Rubio’s Obstructionism

The senator once again blocked Roberta Jacobson's confirmation as ambassador to Mexico

Editorial: Marco Rubio’s Obstructionism
Marco Rubio.
Foto: EFE

Maintaining good relations with Mexico is crucial for the United States, both in the financial and geopolitical realms. Numerous shared interests require the highest level of attention from the two countries. Time and again, the relationship has suffered the criticism of politicians who seek to benefit from attacking the neighboring country and its migrants, the way Trump is doing now. When the time has come to counteract them, demagogues have been silenced by demonstrating a solid, enduring alliance between the two nations.

Right now, this relationship is bearing the absence of a U.S. ambassador, and the main obstacle to solve the problem is Senator Marco Rubio. Yes, the same one who spent more than $110 million in a presidential campaign in which he was unable to win even in his home state. Today, in the last months of his only term serving in Washington, he is spending his time being an obstacle for any legislative achievement.

The position of U.S. Ambassador to Mexico has been vacant for a long time due to the Republican Senate’s reluctance to confirm anyone to fill it. The previous nominee – María Echaveste, who used to work for former president Bill Clinton – was ignored by legislators because she supports comprehensive immigration reform.

Last June, Roberta Jacobson, current Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs – which deals with U.S. policy regarding the Americas, – was nominated. The first objections came from Rubio and from Democratic Senator Bob Menéndez, who complained about Jacobson’s involvement in the restoration of relations with Cuba.

On Tuesday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake proposed moving forward with Jacobson’s nomination. The only objection came from Rubio, who now wants to negotiate sanctions against Venezuela after his failure to influence the new policies of the White House toward Cuba.

It is sad to see him blocking Jacobson’s confirmation, something that stems not from her performance as a public servant or from his desire to make a point about his opposition to the Cuban regime. What he is doing is repeating the same behavior he demonstrated during his presidential campaign, showing a great ability to change postures and an immeasurable ambition when he wants something, regardless of the cost. In this case, the price to pay is the relationship with Mexico.

It is unacceptable that the seat of the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico has remained empty for over a year, especially at a time when that country is enduring a great deal of criticism. With his attitude, Rubio only confirms that never had what it takes to be a senator, let alone the president.