A high-ranking American diplomat and longtime observer of Latin America is now poised to become the first female U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
The U.S. State Department announced
on Monday that President Barack Obama nominated Roberta Jacobson to the high-profile post.
, 53, is currently second in charge of the State Department's Western Hemisphere Affairs division.
Her most recent work includes serving as the top American official in negotiations with Cuba. The sessions led to unprecedented new agreements, including the planned reestablishment of formal diplomatic envoys between the two countries long separated by the decades-long Cuban Embargo.
"Ms. Jacobson is well known for extensive experience and leadership on key policy issues across the region," according to the State Department announcement. "This significant policy, management, and inter-agency expertise ... make her uniquely qualified to serve as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico."
She's got a long road ahead, as her nomination faces approval from the Republican-nominated U.S. Senate.
But she's already got the approval of experts on U.S.-Mexico relations. The two countries are inextricably linked, engaging in more than $1 billion in trade every day.
"I've known her for well over a decade and drew on her keen insight and good judgment on all things Mexico and Latin America during my time as ambassador," Tony Garza, a Brownsville native and former U.S. ambassador to Mexico under President George W. Bush, told the Dallas Morning News.
"She is extremely well-respected in Congress, has close relationships with colleagues in Mexico, and gets things done," Andrew Selee, who specializes in Mexico at think tank Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars, told the Dallas Morning News.
Jacobson is a veteran diplomat, having worked for the State Department for three decades domestically and overseas. She's no stranger to Mexico, having served as director of the Office of Mexican Affairs from 2002 to 2007.
She's got a bachelor's from Brown University and a master's in diplomacy from Tufts University.