State Department

The U.S. State Department has expressed concern over the welfare of a Utah man jailed in Venezuela, a day after he managed to upload a video to Facebook saying inmates at his prison had seized the complex and were trying to kill him.

Updated at 6:35 p.m. ET

Mike Pompeo is on track to become secretary of state after a key Republican senator gave a last-minute endorsement of the CIA director.

The secretary of state-designate's nomination was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Monday night on a party-line vote. The vote was 10 Republicans for Pompeo, nine Democrats against. One Democrat voted present.

The hits keep coming for EPA chief Scott Pruitt, with a new report from a government watchdog agency concluding that the Environmental Protection Agency broke the law when it spent more than $43,000 to build a soundproof privacy booth in Pruitt's office.

The Government Accountability Office found that the EPA spent the money without providing advance notice to Congress, as required by law.

Mike Pompeo, whom President Trump tapped Tuesday to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, has an extraordinary résumé. He graduated at the top of his class at West Point. He served as a tank officer in Europe. He went to Harvard Law School.

He was a corporate lawyer who launched a successful aerospace business. He got elected to Congress as a Tea Party Republican from Kansas in 2010. For more than a year, he has run the CIA.

However, he has never been a diplomat, either by profession or temperament.

Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired on Tuesday morning in a tweet that followed a year of frequent tension between the two leaders.

Emily Michot / Miami Herald

ANALYSIS

Ever since former President Barack Obama normalized relations with Cuba three years ago – heralding the possibility of a new era after half a century of hostility – cold warriors on both sides of the Florida Straits have gnashed their teeth at the rapprochement.

But in the coming days and weeks, sources say the Trump Administration may well shelve a good chunk of the new normal in favor of the old normal the hawks prefer – in effect, the re-freezing of U.S.-Cuban relations.

Andrew Harnik / AP via Miami Herald

In a bizarre diplomatic dust-up between the U.S. and Cuba, the State Department revealed Wednesday that it expelled two officials from the Cuban Embassy in Washington in May in response to “incidents” at the U.S. Embassy in Havana last year that left American officials physically ill.

Miami Passport Office Shut Down Until Further Notice

Apr 24, 2017
Tim Sackton / Flickr

Getting a U.S. passport for many residents of the Southeast just became a tougher task with the closing of the U.S. State Department’s Miami Passport Agency for possibly two weeks.

The agency’s website says the office at 1501 W. Biscayne Blvd. in downtown Miami is closed to the public until further notice, unable to take appointments or process passports.

Callers to the appointment line, 877-487-2778, seeking times for the next two weeks are offered appointments at the agency offices in Atlanta or New Orleans.

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Joshua Roberts/Reuters

President Donald Trump thinks the US is investing too little in guns and way too much in diplomacy. 

His proposed budget calls for slashing State Department spending by up to 30 percent to help pay for a 10 percent uptick in resources for the military. 

According to one former top State Department official, Trump's math is all wrong. 

On behalf of the U.S. State Department, John Kerry has issued a formal apology for the department's pattern of discrimination against LGBT employees during a period beginning in the 1940s and stretching for decades.

Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., had asked the secretary of state for such an apology in late November, calling the historical discrimination "un-American and unacceptable."

Bureau of International Narcotics & Law Enforcement

Miami-Dade County’s population is one of the world’s most cosmopolitan. And its police force reflects that.

In 2012, the State Department decided to put that diversity to use beyond our borders. State recruited Miami-Dade police to help train and build law enforcement in Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica and even Egypt. Federal officials say it worked out so well that this week they re-upped the Miami-Dade force for another five years.

Franklin Reyes / AP

As part of his effort to normalize relations with communist Cuba, President Obama wants to make it easier for Americans to travel there. But there’s still some confusion. So the Administration wants folks to bring their questions to the Twittersphere.

U.S. tourist travel to Cuba is still illegal. But Americans have long been able to travel there if they obtained U.S. government permission for purposes like family visits or academic exchanges.

Flickr

A major poll released Monday confirms most Americans, and especially Floridians, feel it’s time to normalize relations with communist Cuba after more than a half century of Cold-War rupture.