Washington DC - Ranking Member Howard L. Berman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee made the following statement after Senate Republicans blocked the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte as permanent US Ambassador to El Salvador:

“Aponte has shown during her tenure in San Salvador that she is more than qualified to serve as our permanent Ambassador to El Salvador,” said Rep. Berman. “It is simply outrageous that a minority of Senators blocked her appointment because she rightly spoke out against attacks on and discrimination against sexual minorities. I find it repugnant that our representatives abroad should be expected to only speak out against certain morally proscribed human rights abuses and remain silent on others."

Aponte is temporarily serving as Ambassador to El Salvador. She has been subject to criticism for her strong defense of gay rights in an op-ed she wrote, published in a Salvadoran newspaper. Aponte’s work on LGBT issues was part of a broader State Department focus on LGBT rights abroad.