- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

President Obama nominated Jeffrey DeLaurentis Tuesday as the first U.S. ambassador to Cuba in more than 50 years.

Mr. DeLaurentis, a career foreign service officer, has been serving as the senior U.S. diplomat in Havana while Mr. Obama restored full relations with the Communist nation and President Raul Castro. He already had the rank of ambassador, but the post still must be confirmed by the Senate.

“Jeff’s leadership has been vital throughout the normalization of relations between the United States and Cuba, and the appointment of an ambassador is a common sense step forward toward a more normal and productive relationship between our two countries,” Mr. Obama said. “There is no public servant better suited to improve our ability to engage the Cuban people and advance U.S. interests in Cuba than Jeff.”

Mr. DeLaurentis has been working with Cuba on issues such as law enforcement, counternarcotics, environmental protection, combating trafficking in persons, expanding commercial and agricultural ties.

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