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About John Francis Keane

Ambassador John F. Keane

Ambassador John Francis Keane

On January 24, 2003, John F. Keane took the oath of office to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay. In 2002, John Keane was Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Western Hemisphere Affairs Bureau of the Department of State, with responsibility for Canada, Central America, and Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Issues he dealt with were negotiations with Canada over homeland security, helping Central American nations consolidate democracy and address challenges of poverty and natural disasters, and strengthening cooperation with our neighbors against terrorism, illicit drug and alien smuggling and other international organized crime.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Keane was the Director of the Office of Central American Affairs at the State Department. Key developments during his tenure were coordination of the U.S. Government response to Hurricane Mitch and the early 2001 earthquakes in El Salvador, the withdrawal of US troops from Panama and the turnover of the Canal to the Government of Panama in 1999, the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership Act (CBTPA), working with the OAS on reducing tensions among Central American nations, securing counter narcotics maritime agreements with three Central American states, and significant policy decisions affecting immigrants from Central America.

Mr. Keane’s last overseas assignment was as Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) at the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela (1995-1998), where he served as Charge d’Affaires from April 1996 until March 1997. He also served as DCM in Guatemala (1992-1995) and was Charge d’Affaires there from November 1992-June 1993.

Highlights of his period as Deputy Chief of Mission and Charge’ d’Affaires in Venezuela were economic structural reforms, successful negotiations to avoid a bilateral confrontation over civil aviation, and new opportunities for U.S. investors and exporters as a result of U.S. Embassy assistance. While in Guatemala, he received commendations from the President and the Department of State for his contributions to the restoration of democracy, to the ultimately successful negotiations to end a 35-year civil war, and to curbing the transit of illicit narcotics through that country.

Mr. Keane’s first Foreign Service assignment (1970-1971) was to work on development and pacification programs in South Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. Other Foreign Service assignments include Peru (1972-1974, 1978-1980), Argentina (1980-1984), Chile (1984-1988), and Brazil (1988-1991). He also worked in the Department of State as country officer for Mexico (1974-1976), Executive Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs (1976-1978), and Director of the Office of Career Development and Assignments for Political Officers in the State Department (1991-1992). Mr. Keane, who hails from New York, also served with Peace Corps in Colombia.

Ambassador Keane and his wife, Graciela, have two sons, Robert and Edward.

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