US President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next ambassador in Argentina, Judge Edward Prado, has promised to offer assistance to the investigation into the alleged attempted cover-up by the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner administration of the AMIA bombing and the inquiry into late AMIA special prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s death.
Speaking yesterday before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a nomination hearing, Prado said he was encouraged by the Macri administration’s approach to the accusations against Fernández de Kirchner and others as well as the query into Nisman’s death and that “he hoped to get down there and help the process in any way I can, with regard to any assistance that we might provide, whether it be as prosecutors or assistance to the judicial process.”
You can watch Prado’s interactions with Marco Rubio and the Us State Department’s Confirmation Hearing below after the 1:18:15 mark.
Prado also spoke of the “killing, murdering, death” of Nisman in his testimony and called on Iran “to cooperate and assist in the investigation.”
Federal Judge Claudio Bonadio ruled earlier this week that former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, along with 11 other high-profile Kirchnerite officials and associates who have been indicted, will stand trial for allegedly covering up Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA Jewish community center attack in exchange for trade deals.
Among the other accused are: former Legal and Technical Secretary Carlos Zannini, former Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, former Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) head Oscar Parrilli and former Deputy Andrés Larroque, as well as controversial social leader Luis D’Elía, former Quebracho protest group leader Fernando Esteche and Jorge “Yussuf” Khalil.
The former president has argued that the Bonadio’s rulings were politically motivated and expressing confidence that she will be cleared of all charges during a trial. A trial date has not been set.
Prado’s prepared statement before the committee included praise for the Mauricio Macri administration, indicating that “while the country has no doubt dealt with its share of economic challenges, the current Macri administration has established wide-reaching reforms seeking to strengthen Argentina’s markets and its position in the global economic community. I intend to work closely with the Argentine administration to not only assist them in these efforts but to strengthen mutually beneficial trade and commerce between our two nations.”
Asked by Senator Marco Rubio (Republican-Florida) if he would commit to supporting Buenos Aires and the stance it has taken within the Lima Group to challenge Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Prado said “there has been some positive moves being made by the Argentine government in is criticism of how the Venezuelan administration is treating citizens and lack of democracy and I intend to do all I can to support their efforts to remedy the situation.”
Prado noted that he would seek mutually beneficial trade between the United States and Argentina. He will have to contend with existing tensions over biodiesel and it appears, steel and aluminum tariffs.
Prado was nominated in January of this year to replace former US ambassador Noah Mamet, who resigned in January 2017. The judge won praise yesterday from both
Republican and Democratic senators.
A current US Federal Circuit Judge appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003, Prado was rumored to have been a potential 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.
At yesterday’s hearing senators also heard testimony from the candidates to head up US embassies in the Dominican Republic, Colombia and the candidate for Assistant Secretary of State (Educational and Cultural Affairs). Ambassadors must first be cleared by the Senate Committee and Foreign Relations before a vote on the floor can be held.