New US Ambassador to Spain James Costos was one of 16 new ambassadors to present his papers to the Spanish head of state on Tuesday. Screen Grab: YouTube
The new US ambassador to Spain and Andorra presented his credentials to the King Juan Carlos on Tuesday: a vegetarian, animal rights campaigner, the diplomat is also one of five openly gay ambassadors appointed by US President Barack Obama.
James Costos was one of 16 new ambassadors to present his papers to the Spanish head of state on Tuesday.
A graduate in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts, Costos has a track record in fashion and retail behind him.
In his latest role before becoming the new face of Washington in Madrid, Costos was Vice President of Global Licensing and Retail for Home Box Office (HBO).
The diplomat is also openly gay — he has come to Spain with his partner of 14 years, Michael Smith — and is one of five homosexuals ambassadors appointed by the administration of US President Barack Obama.
"I'm not a gay activist," Costos told Spain's El País newspaper on Wednesday.
"I consider myself a defender of human rights in general, of heterosexuals, homosexuals, women, whichever group needs help," he said.
"It's a coincidence I'm gay. I've never carried banners or gone to demonstrations, although I support them."
Costos is also vegetarian, and an animal rights activist in the land of bullfights.
"My choices are personal. But I respect Spanish culture and its traditions, one of which is the bullfight, and I'm not one to give my opinion.
"That's not my role," said Washington's new man in Madrid.
Indeed he sees his role as "to keep building and improving a relationship that has lasted for 200 years".
"I don't want to get caught up in anti-Americanism," Costos said.
"I asked my President for advice and he said to me: 'Go to Spain and tell the Spaniards how much we appreciate them'."
A video introducing James Costos, the new UN Ambassador to Spain and Andorra.