Trump taps veteran diplomat to serve as ambassador to Colombia

Trump taps veteran diplomat to serve as ambassador to Colombia

President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE nominated veteran diplomat Philip Goldberg to serve as ambassador to Colombia amid a leadership dispute in neighboring Venezuela.

Goldberg has served as chargé d’affaires ad interim of the United States Embassy in Cuba, ambassador to the Philippines, ambassador to Bolivia, chief of mission of the United States Office in Pristina, Kosovo, and plan Colombia coordinator at the United States Embassy in Bogota.

ADVERTISEMENT

He is currently the senior state department fellow at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. 

Goldberg has received awards as a diplomat, including a Presidential Distinguished Rank Award, two Presidential Meritorious Rank Awards and the National Intelligence Silver Seal Medallion.

The nomination comes as Colombia backs the U.S. effort to oust Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, while throwing its support behind Venezuelan National Assembly leader and self-proclaimed interim President Juan Guaidó.

Guaidó launched an apparent coup attempt Tuesday, which Trump administration officials said they supported, though reports on Wednesday noted the effort could have failed.

President Trump also threatened to implement an embargo and place additional sanctions on Cuba over its support for Maduro. 

Washington has used Colombia as a staging ground for products it hopes to get into Venezuela, publicizing food and other goods it places on the border and that it hopes to send as part of a humanitarian assistance effort.

However, Trump has slammed newly elected Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez for what he says are inadequate efforts to stem the flow of drugs out of Colombia. 

“I’ll tell you something: Colombia, you have your new president of Colombia, really good guy. I've met him, we had him at the White House. He said how he was going to stop drugs. More drugs are coming out of Colombia right now than before he was president — so he has done nothing for us,” Trump told reporters in March. 

Trump’s last nomination to be ambassador to Colombia, Joseph Macmanus, was derailed in February after bipartisan senators raised concerns about his lack of experience in the region.