Mari Carmen Aponte

Mari Carmen Aponte
Mari Carmen Aponte. Official U.S. State Department photo

Mari Carmen Aponte is a Washington DC-based Puerto Rico-born attorney who serves, due to a recess appointment by President Barack Obama, as ambassador to El Salvador.[1]


Personal life

Born in Puerto Rico, Mrs. Aponte went to school on the United States mainland but never severed her roots to Puerto Rico. She obtained a B.A. in Political Science from Rosemont College. Her M.A. in Theatre is from Villanova University and she obtained her Juris Doctor at Temple University, one of a few female law students enrolled under an affirmative action program, after serving a stint as a public school teacher.[2] However, probably her best education was obtained in 1979 as a White House Fellow under President Jimmy Carter, serving as a Special Assistant to former New Orleans Mayor Moon Landrieu, who served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

A close friend of former Resident Commissioner and Governor Aníbal Acevedo Vilá, she actually was his landlord and housemate during his four years of Congressional service in Washington, DC. She is also a close friend of Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who swore her in as only the eleventh Puerto Rican United States Ambassador since 1898.[3]

Public service

In 2001, she was appointed by Puerto Rico Governor Sila Calderón as Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, a post she held until 2004.

Prior to that experience, she was appointed by President Bill Clinton to serve as Ambassador to the Dominican Republic, but she asked that her nomination be withdrawn from consideration by the Senate.[4]

She served as a member of the District of Columbia Judicial Nominations Commission when President Obama sent to the United States Senate her nomination to serve as Ambassador to El Salvador. Several months after the Senate failed to act upon her nomination, the President extended a recess appointment, allowing her to assume the post, pending confirmation.[5]

In 2010 she helped organize and hosted President Obama's state visit to El Salvador as part of a Latin American tour that also included Brazil and Chile.

Private sector activities

Aponte has served as a member of the Board of Directors of Oriental Group, a major financial and banking services enterprise in Puerto Rico, from 1998 to 2001 and from 2005 on.

In addition to practicing law for decades, she is a vice chair of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and a consultant to the Hispanic Information and Telecommunications Network (HITN).

She has served as a director at the National Council of La Raza, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, the University of the District of Columbia and Rosemont College. She presided over the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia and the Hispanic National Bar Association Hispanic National Bar Association.


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External links

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