Biden taps veteran politician to woo Mexico

President Joe Biden has nominated Ken Salazar - seen here at the 2012 Democratic National Convention - as US ambassador to Mexico
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

US President Joe Biden on Tuesday named seasoned politician Ken Salazar as ambassador to Mexico, tasked with cultivating the so far chilly relationship with leader Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

Known for frequently sporting a cowboy hat, the folksy Spanish speaker comes from a political family in Colorado and was elected a US senator before becoming former president Barack Obama's first interior secretary, in charge of federal lands.

Salazar identifies as Mexican-American and co-chaired a committee on the Biden presidential campaign aimed at wooing Latino voters, although he traces his ancestry not to Mexico but to Spanish settlers who founded Santa Fe, now in the US state of New Mexico, in the 16th century.

Biden, who announced Salazar's nomination in a statement alongside other posts, has had cool ties with Lopez Obrador, who despite his leftist ideology formed a warm partnership with former president Donald Trump.

Lopez Obrador, a populist who has presided over one of the world's highest tolls from Covid-19, reached a deal with Trump to detain Central American migrants seeking to enter the United States.

The Mexican leader, whose term ends in 2024, echoed a Republican talking point by saying that Biden's promises of more humane treatment had led to more migrants.

He also told Vice President Kamala Harris on a sometimes tense visit last week that Mexico wants to end military cooperation in fighting drug trafficking, a sore point between the neighbors for years.

Salazar's nomination requires confirmation from the US Senate, which looks likely as he is a former senator. He is also considered a political moderate, having occasionally butted heads with left-leaning politicians on the environment.

sct/ch

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting