The main U.S. diplomat for Latin America is coming to Costa Rica Wednesday. He is Arturo A. Valenzuela, who holds the office of assistant secretary of State for Western Hemisphere affairs.
The State Department made the announcement Monday and said that Valenzuela also would visit Managua, Nicaragua, Thursday and Friday. In each country, he will meet with government officials and political, business, and civil society leaders to discuss bilateral and regional issues such as our cooperation to promote democratic governance, citizen safety, inclusive economic opportunity, energy security, and climate change, the department said.
There probably is no relation between the visit and the near confrontation this weekend between the Nicaraguan army and heavily armed Costa Rican tactical squad members over the weekend. The dispute involved dredging in the Río San Juan. However, the topic is certain to come up.
Valenzuela held a diplomatic post under former president Bill Clinton and he is known to be a strong proponent of democracy.
He holds the job that Thomas A. Shannon, Jr., held under the George Bush administration. Shannon was a frequent visitor to Costa Rica. He moved on to become the U.S. ambassador in Brazil.
Valenzuela is the son of Methodist missionaries, and he was born in Chile. He is multi-lingual. He was a professor at Georgetown University in Washington, the same school that President Laura Chinchilla attended.
The State Department said that for regular updates on this trip, those interested can follow Valenzuela’s Twitter feed @WHAAsstSecty.