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Biden Nominates Miami Native Frank Mora As U.S. Ambassador To The OAS


President Biden has selected Frank Mora, former head of FIU's Latin American and Caribbean Center, to be U.S. envoy to the Organization of American States.

With crises raging across Latin America right now, the job of U.S. envoy to the Organization of American States (OAS) has taken on new importance — and President Biden has nominated another South Floridian, former Florida International University Latin American studies director Frank Mora, for the post.

Mora, a Cuban-American and Miami native, was most recently head of the Kimberly Green Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC) at FIU, from 2013 to 2020. He’s widely credited for making it one of the country’s top hemispheric studies hubs, particularly in the area of hemispheric security.

Prior to FIU, Mora was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere — from 2009 to 2013 — under President Barack Obama.

The Washington D.C.-based OAS is the de facto United Nations of the Western Hemisphere — and in recent years, if not weeks, it’s found itself in the middle of crises from the collapse of Venezuela’s democracy to Cuba’s crackdown on this month's anti-regime protests. The body is often criticized, however, for lack of effectiveness.

Mora holds an international affairs PhD from the University of Miami. He’s a Democrat, and his nomination could help Biden regain some of the South Florida Latino vote he lost in last year’s election.

His selection is also expected to draw resistance from South Florida's Republican congressional delegation, including Sen. Marco Rubio, because Mora is a proponent of Obama's normalization of relations with communist Cuba.

The most recent U.S. ambassador to the OAS, Republican Carlos Trujillo, is also from Miami.
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Tim Padgett is the Americas editor for Miami NPR affiliate WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida.