U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Roberta Jacobson, the top State Department official to Latin America, as the next ambassador to Mexico.
If confirmed by the Senate, Jacobson will become the first U.S. woman to be ambassador to Mexico.
In choosing Ms. Jacobson, 53, Obama is turning to a trusted ally, having worked with her in his negotiations to re-establish diplomatic ties with Cuba.
Jacobson is a Mexico expert who rose through the ranks of the State Department.
Obama’s selection of her represents a change in approach, as he initially chose Maria Echaveste, the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a former Clinton administration aide.
Yet Echaveste is a keen supporter of an immigration overhaul and is therefore a considerably more contentious candidate with Republicans. Congress ignored her nomination for months before she finally withdrew her name in January.
Jacobson, in contrast, has allies in both political parties and was described by the New York Times as “tailor-made for the post.”
She is expected to be more vocal than the current ambassador E. Anthony Wayne, who mostly limits public appearances to business and educational conferences.
“Obama is sending us a top diplomat, someone doing a very important job for the administration and for Latin America” said Rafael Fernandez de Castro, chief of international studies at ITAM, a university in Mexico City. “The relationship certainly needs someone like that. Mexico will appreciate that.”