During the presidential campaign, Barack Obama promised to reinstate the position of special envoy for the Americas, which was eliminated after the post was vacated in June 2004.
"In the past, American presidents have filled the position of special envoy to bring senior-level attention to hemispheric matters that might otherwise get buried in the normal diplomatic process," Obama explained.
About a year ago, we rated this promise stalled, based on a lack of any obvious moves to appoint someone. In the year since, there's been no further action, even though "the need for it is perhaps even more acute than before," said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas. Farnsworth worked under President Bill Clinton as an aide in the White House Office of the Special Envoy for the Americas.
National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said that the president has "taken strides toward opening a new era of relations in the Americas. We have done so at every level, including through sustained, high-level engagement throughout the region. That includes three presidential trips and visits to countries throughout the Western Hemisphere by all but one cabinet secretary, many of whom have made multiple trips to the region, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton"s visits to 18 countries in the Americas."
Still, no appointment has been forthcoming over the past two years -- a period we consider generous for a personnel appointment. If an envoy is named, we will move it to Promise Kept, but for now, we are moving it to Promise Broken.