President Joe Biden’s nominees were confirmed by voice vote to serve as U.S. emissaries to the Republic of Nicaragua, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Panama, and Belize.
Michelle Kwan, a retired U.S. figure skater who has worked in public service and diplomacy since 2006, will serve as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Belize.
Kwan is the most decorated figure skater in U.S. history, having won 43 championships, five world championships, nine national titles, and two Olympic medals. She also worked on Biden’s 2020 election campaign.
Confirmed by voice vote: Executive Calendar #981 Michelle Kwan to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Belize.
— Senate Cloakroom (@SenateCloakroom) September 29, 2022
In 2006, during the second Bush administration, then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice appointed Kwan as the first American public diplomacy envoy. In that role, she traveled the world engaging youth on social and educational issues.
Candace Bond, who was nominated in March, was appointed to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
Bond is currently the CEO of AESA Inc. in Los Angeles, which offers business advisory services in real estate and community development with an emphasis on environmental stability, governance, education, and health equity.
The White House described her as a “committed social entrepreneur and corporate strategist” dedicated to driving community development and social impact.
Hugo F. Rodriguez, Jr., a career U.S. foreign service member who was nominated by Biden in May, was appointed to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Nicaragua.
Nicaragua withdrew its approval of Rodriguez as ambassador nominee in July after he criticized Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s regime.
Biden banned Ortega, his wife, and members of his government from entry to the United States in November 2021, citing his election, which the White House said was not “free and fair.”
Rodriguez has previously served as deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Paraguay and as the embassy’s charge d’affaires.
Lesslie Viguerie, who will serve as ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, currently serves as the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary for Central Asia and Pakistan affairs in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.
A career member of the foreign service, Viguerie was nominated by Biden in March and previously served at U.S. embassies in Uzbekistan and India.