Throughout the week, Cynthia Ann Telles, the new United States ambassador to Costa Rica, completed the paperwork to hold her position. The diplomat arrived on Tuesday and Thursday she made her accreditation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This Friday, meanwhile, the presentation of credentials took place, the most solemn act of diplomacy in which the appointment letters are delivered to the President of the Republic.
Thus, Telles will be able to begin exercising the position in a country that is not new to her. The American spent 6 years of her childhood here, when her father, Raymond Telles, served as an ambassador for the Government of John F. Kennedy.
A ‘little piece of heaven’
Upon taking office, Telles recalled the significance that the country had for her father. “It is an honor to present my credentials to President Alvarado and begin my term as President Biden’s representative in Costa Rica, the country that my father called a ‘little piece of heaven‘ when he was ambassador,” she said.
“I am excited to continue strengthening the deep friendship between our two countries by building a region that is more democratic, more prosperous and more secure,” she stressed.
New ambassador is an expert in mental health
Cynthia Telles is a graduate of Boston University in Clinical Psychology. She has combined professional work with activism. As an academic, Telles teaches psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, where she is also on the Executive Committee of the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.
For 30 years she has been director of the UCLA Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic. She also founded the founder of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence.
In politics, she has been part of the board of directors for the Pacific Council on International Policy and has participated in different political commissions in Los Angeles. In the same city, she was a director of Americas United Bank, the first Hispanic commercial bank established in California. Telles served on the White House Committee on Presidential Scholars and the National Advisory Council on Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services.
During her interview in the Senate, prior to her ratification, the diplomat highlighted the good relationship and the strong US investments in the country, as well as the concerns generated by the influence that China is trying to gain in the country.
President Joe Biden had announced the appointment of Telles since the previous June. The proposal had to go through the filters of the Senate -which ratified it last December- and on January 30th she was sworn in.