A seasoned professional diplomat with extensive Latin American experience is now in charge of the U.S. Embassy in Pavas. He is Gonzalo Gallegos, who takes over for Eric Nelson.
An embassy spokesperson noted that Gallegos had served in Costa Rica previously and in his last position in Washington he had policy oversight of the embassy here.
Gallegos is the top person at the embassy because a new ambassador has not been named. Typically, the ambassador’s job at the embassy is a political patronage post regardless of the political affiliations of the U.S. president who makes the selection.
The last ambassador, Ann Slaughter Andrew, is the wife of a former head of the Democratic National Committee. She and her husband were early supporters of Barack Obama.
Absent an ambassador, Gallegos is called chargé d’affaires. The last time he was here he was director of the Centro Cultural Costarricense Norteamericano. He most recently served as the director of the Office of Central American Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, the embassy said.
His most recent overseas posting was as counselor for public affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, it added. He also has served in Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago, NIcaragua and Colombia.
He was graduated by Kansas State University with majors in political science and journalism, according to his biography. He received a master’s degree in national security strategy from the National War College, it said.
The embassy said that Nelson now is director of the State Department’s Office of e-diplomacy in Washington. “Essentially, they focus on using cutting-edge technology to improve the way we work together and how we reach external audiences around the world,” the spokesperson said.