US President Donald Trump has nominated Judge Edward Prado as his choice for US Ambassador to Argentina. A current US Federal Circuit Judge appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003, Prado was rumored to have been a Supreme Court Justice replacement for Sandra Day O’Connor after she retired in 2005. Prior to his position on the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, he was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 to the US District Court for the Western District of Texas.
Born and educated in Texas, Prado is a conservative with close ties to the Bush family. He speaks Spanish and has a long background with the law, previously serving as an Assistant Public Defender, an Assistant District Attorney, and a District Attorney. In the 1990s, the then-Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist chose Prado to review the administration of the federal public defender service. That committee became known as the “Prado Committee” which advised greater independence for public defenders and that defendants themselves have wider opportunities to choose among them. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including being recognized as the Outstanding Latino Judge by the Hispanic National Bar Association in 2006, and has been listed as one of the top 100 most influential Latinos in the US by Hispanic Business Magazine.
Prado has also already inhaled a bit of our Good Air when he visited the University of Buenos Aires in July 2009 to speak as part of a panel for UBA’s Law School on his experience as a Fifth Circuit Court Judge.
Most Latin American countries have what the US calls “career ambassadors” –individuals who rise up through the US Foreign Service. “Political appointees” are individuals of the same political party as the President and their nominations must be confirmed by the Senate. Chile and Colombia are two countries like Argentina which have politically-appointed ambassadors, and both have nominees pending confirmation. Argentina is the last of South America to receive a nominee, but better late than never. US Federal Court Judge appointments, like ambassadorships, must be Senate confirmed and Prado was unanimously voted into office 97-0 after his 2003 nomination.
In January 2017, then-President Elect Trump announced that all politically-appointed ambassadors must leave their positions after his late-January inauguration. Since then, President Trump has been criticized for the slow nomination process. It has created somewhat of a hiccup in the diplomatic sphere as places like South Korea -where the Olympics begin next month- are left without a clear leader for US policy. Costa Rica is the only country in Latin America thus far to have its politically-appointed ambassador, Sharon Day, confirmed in August 2017.
Regardless, mucho gusto Mr. Prado, if you like Texas BBQ then just wait until you’ve had an Argentine parrilla.