By JUAN O. TAMAYO | Miami Herald
The top U.S. diplomat in Cuba, Michael Parmly, will leave his post this summer and will be replaced by a top official at the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the Department confirmed Thursday.
Jonathan D. Farrar, now principal deputy assistant secretary at the bureau, has broad experience in Latin America, with previous postings at the U.S. embassies in Mexico, Belize, Paraguay and Uruguay.
State Department spokeswoman Heide Bronke confirmed Farrar will succeed Parmly this summer. There was no immediate word on Parmly’s next assignment after completing a normal three-year posting in Havana.
Parmly and Farrar were not available for comment.
Parmly was assigned to head the U.S. Interests Section in Havana in 2005, replacing James Cason, who had earned a reputation in his three years in Cuba as an aggressive critic of the Fidel Castro government.
Parmly took a different style, and even Castro initially noted the difference between him and Cason, describing Parmly’s correspondence as ``respectful.’‘
But as time passed, Parmly appeared to wear out his welcome. In 2006, the electricity went off at the mission for several days in what U.S. officials called part of a deliberate Cuban harassment campaign that included poisoning a U.S. diplomat’s pet and shutting off water to the mission.
Parmly at the time said the harassment ‘‘makes Ceausescu’s Romania look like real amateurs,’’ referring to the last and notoriously harsh communist ruler of Romania. Castro later called Parmly a ``little gangster.’‘
Farrar was picked to replace Parmly because of his experience with human rights issues, said U.S. officials who asked to remain anonymous.
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