Who Is Vilma Martinez?


Quick Answer

Vilma Martínez is an American lawyer and civil rights activist who served as U.S. Ambassador to Argentina from 2009 until 2013. She was nominated by President Obama and confirmed for the role by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Martínez was the first female American ambassador to the South American nation.

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During the 1970s, Martínez was one of the leading voices to speak out for the civil rights of Hispanic immigrants. She served as a board director for the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. While president and general counsel, Martínez helped to expand the Voting Rights Act to cover Mexican-Americans. In 2013, after the end of her term as ambassador, the Argentinean government awarded Martínez the Order of May, which is the highest honor for a foreign national.

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