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Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Republican Marco Rubio of Florida have opposed the nomination since a confirmation hearing in June, when they complained about the conduct of the nominee, Jonathan D. Farrar, in his current position as the head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana.

As late as Tuesday morning, Mr. Rubio was working to build opposition to kill the nomination.

“I believe his confirmation would send the wrong message, and I strenuously oppose it,” Mr. Rubio, a leading Cuban-American politician, wrote in an article on the conservative website National Review Online.

“His tenure as chief of mission [in Cuba] should alarm all my colleagues.”

Mr. Rubio criticized Mr. Farrar, who has headed the U.S. mission in Havana since 2008, for accommodating Cuba’s communist government and downplaying contacts with pro-democracy dissidents.

He questioned whether Mr. Farrar would be tough enough to promote U.S. interests in Nicaragua, where a “determined and autocratic President Daniel Ortega is corrupting and weakening Nicaraguan institutions to extend his grip on power.”


President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. expressed their condolences over the massacre in Norway on a visit Tuesday to the Norwegian Embassy in Washington.

“To the people of Norway, we are heartbroken by the tragic loss of so many people, particularly youth with the fullness of life ahead of them,” Mr. Obama wrote in a book of condolences.

“No words can ease the sorrow but please know that the thoughts and prayers of all Americans are with the people of Norway, and that we will stand beside you every step of the way.”

The charge d’affaires, Deputy Chief of Mission Berit Enge, greeted the president and vice president because Norwegian Ambassador Wegger Christian Strommen was out of town.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297 or email The column is published on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.