Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for August 2, 2017

Newsline: Trump Keeps Obama Mexico Ambassador in Place in First Months

With less than one month to go before the start of formal talks to update the North American Free Trade Agreement, Donald Trump is keeping as his top envoy south of the border a Mexico expert promoted under Hillary Clinton and chosen by Barack Obama. While Trump continues to demand Mexico pay billions of dollars for a wall to stop undocumented immigrants and calls Nafta the worst trade deal in history, the tone of his ambassador, Roberta Jacobson, couldn’t be more different. Jacobson has spent more than 30 years at the State Department focused on Mexico and Latin America, with a career spanning two Democratic and four Republican presidencies. In that time, she’s won the respect of Mexico’s leaders and become a trusted interlocutor with Washington. With Nafta talks scheduled to start on Aug. 16, the difference in the rhetoric between Jacobson and her ultimate boss show how unpredictable those negotiations have become. Jacobson was nominated by Obama in June 2015, but her confirmation took almost a year, held up by Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican, over her role in improving the U.S. relationship with Cuba as assistant secretary of state. Trump has undone parts of that rapprochement.



Newsline: Domestic workers for German diplomat were overworked, underpaid in New York

Two Filipina domestic workers were underpaid by their German diplomat boss for 90-hour weeks that included scraping bird droppings from the wall of his Westchester home, the former employees charge in a new lawsuit. Sherile Pahagas, 32, and Edith Mendoza, 51, say their pay worked out to about $4 an hour from Pit Kohler, a German civil servant living in Harrison and working at the United Nations, the pair allege in court papers filed in late June with the Southern District of New York. Before the women arrived to the United States, Kohler and his wife Mareike Kohler agreed to pay them $10 per hour for a 35-hour work week, plus a room and meals. They would also be getting 1.5 times her hourly rate for over 40 hours of work, according to the court complaint. “It all turned out to be lies,” said Mendoza. According to the federal complaint, the women allege that they only ended up making $350.70 per week after being paid half the legal minimum wage, despite being promised that they would receive overtime.