Former United States Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Joseph Mondello has died.
The U.S. Embassy made the announcement of the death in a news release today.
Mondello served as the US Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago between October 2018 and January last year.
The Embassy said he died Monday at the age of 84.
Charge’ d’Affaires Shante Moore said, “Ambassador Mondello hired me to serve as his Deputy Chief of Mission, which eventually afforded me the opportunity to serve as Charge’ d’Affaires. Ambassador Mondello considered serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago as one of the greatest honors of his career. I remember him as a gentleman and leader with an open-door policy.”
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Cindy Diouf noted that, “Ambassador Mondello was a man of great character and patriotism, and he will be deeply missed. He was a natural leader who led by example and cared deeply about those under his leadership and the reputation of the United States. He demonstrated courage and commitment throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and refused to leave his team even as infections rose and borders closed. Ambassador Mondello provided inspiration and steadfast leadership throughout his tenure, earning the respect and admiration of the U.S. Embassy community. Ambassador Mondello also possessed a good sense of humor and was a great storyteller. He loved and respected the people of Trinidad and Tobago and was proud to serve his country. Ambassador Mondello was more than our leader; he was our friend.”
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley shakes hands with US Ambassador Joseph Mondello at a meeting in September 2019.
Mondello had been vocal on Trinidad and Tobago's relationship with Venezuela during his tenure.
In May 2020, he spoke on the controversial March 27 visit of Venezuelan Vice-President Delcy Rodriguez to Trinidad, disclosing he had expressed concern to Young about this in relation to T&T’s violation of the Rio Treaty.
The ambassador’s statement contradicted what was said by Young on two occasions.
“Normally I do not comment on private conversations with host government officials. Since the Government has spoken publicly about my May 6 conversation with Minister Young, though, I wish to affirm that I expressed concern to the Minister in that conversation about the consistency of Delcy Rodriguez’s visit to Port of Spain with Trinidad and Tobago’s obligations as a party to the Rio Treaty," he had said.
He added, “Article 20 of the Rio Treaty makes it unambiguously clear that all measures imposed by the Organ of Consultation—like the travel restrictions on Ms Rodriguez —are binding on all treaty parties, whether or not they voted in favour of such measures.”
On June 8, 2020, he crossed the road from the Embassy on Queen's Park West, to meet with Black Lives Matter demonstrators in the Queen's Park Savannah, against the killing of George Floyd.
He had said that racist actions are not what the United States stood for.
The Embassy today offered condolences and best wishes to Mrs Mondello and the Mondello family on his passing.