Donald Trump has won the game. Despite Argentina’s bitter battle to avoid what some perceive as a further attack on multilateralism, the President of the United States has finally won his bet to elect his candidate as head of the Inter-American Development Bank , the main source of funding for Latin American countries.
This election thus puts an end to a tradition, unwritten but still respected until then, that the institution is chaired by a Latin American personality, although the United States is the main donor alongside the 47 other States. members (including 28 from the region).
Mauricio Claver-Carone, a 44-year-old lawyer of Cuban descent known to be the architect of Washington’s tough policy towards Venezuela and Cuba, was elected on Saturday, September 12 with 66.8% of the vote. To be elected, he had to obtain more than 50% of the vote, and be chosen by at least 15 of the 28 member countries of the region. He eventually won the vote of 30 countries, including 23 in Latin America, according to an internal IDB source.
A sling led by Argentina
However, sixteen countries, including France – a government source told the World – abstained from voting, showing the rejection that this candidacy had inspired in the region and in the world. A real sling had been led by Argentina – which presented its own candidate – since Washington announced in June that Mr. Claver-Carone would participate in the race. Buenos Aires, followed by Chile, Costa Rica, Mexico and by the European Union’s foreign minister, Josep Borrell, considered that the vote should be postponed, as the epidemic due to the coronavirus did not allow a debate in face-to-face up to the challenges.
The fears being also, and above all, that an IDB president aligned with Washington will undermine one of the institutions capable of absorbing the cost of the Covid-19 pandemic and orient the aid it grants differently.
For years, the IDB has indeed been a real lifeline for countries ravaged by poverty and without access to international credit, allowing them to finance road infrastructure programs, bridges, ports or electrical installations, to recover from disasters – such as the earthquake in Haiti – and also grant aid to marginalized groups.
Coup de force de Donald Trump
Climate change, sustainable development, fight against the exclusion of indigenous and Afro-descendant populations, gender equality … “These challenges are central to the concerns of Latin Americans and Caribbean people, but they are problems that the Trump administration has hardly ever mentioned, both nationally and internationally,” denounced on August 10 Christopher Sabatini, of the Chatham House think tank in London, in a column published in the Washington Post, calling on IDB member countries to “Do not allow the Trump administration to force the election in September just because it wants to leave its partisan mark on the bank.”
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