Diplomats have a tradition of exchanging medals among one another. In Costa Rica when an ambassador leaves after several years on the job, the foreign ministry rewards him or her with a medal.
Most of the time the decoration is the Orden Nacional Juan Mora Fernández. These are the decorations best observed in action movies scenes of diplomatic cocktail parties when some of the guests are wearing red ribbons across the chest.
This was the case Tuesday when Anne Slaughter Andrew called at the foreign ministry for a farewell visit. The Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto said that she was awarded the Juan Mora decoration at the grade of Gran Cruz Placa de Plata.
Diplomats from other countries attended, and peak hour motorists expressed their displeasure with vehicles being double parked in front of the ministry on Avenida 7. The foreign ministry noted that she was the first female ambassador to represent the United States here.
Ms. Andrew is from Indiana and the wife of the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He endorsed Barack Obama in the Democratic primary elections in that state and was credited with reducing the margin of victory by Hillary Clinton.
The ambassadorship followed Obama’s election.
Ms. Andrew has been criticized by conservative commentators in her home state for not having any experience or training for the post.
But that always is the case in Costa Rica when the U.S. president of either party appoints an ambassador for political reasons and not one from the professional corps.
The exit of Ms. Slaughter became known when the July 4 picnic committee announced that she would not be at the Independence Day event.