Big surprise caused the united States to nominate Mauricio Claver-Carone as their candidate to the presidency of the Inter-American Development bank (IDB).
Surprise and some discomfort in the region because, by so doing, the president, Donald Trump broke with a tradition not written in the history of the IDB, according to which it is a charge which should fall on a Latin american.
Claver-Carone-Carone is the current advisor to the National Security in the Western Hemisphere of the White House and would have virtually secured his appointment as EE. UU. is the owner of 30 per cent of the shares of the bank and is not shaping up any candidate or country with influence enough to challenge him.
Founded in 1959, the bank is composed of 48 members, of which only 26 –all american– can access loans from the institution and own 50.2 per cent of the shares.
(It may be of interest: Postponed the assembly of the IDB in Barranquilla, for the covid-19).
The other 22, including EE. UU., european and asian countries, appear only as donors, but have another 49.8 per cent and therefore a chair in the big decisions.
In its 61 years of existence, has had only four presidents: the former minister of Finance of Chile Felipe Herrera, the former secretary of Finance of Mexico, Antonio Ortiz Mena, the former foreign of Uruguay, Enrique Iglesias, and the former minister of Development of colombia Luis Alberto Morenowhose last period of the bank ends in September.
Date on which it is expected the General Assembly of the IDB, which was planned in Barranquilla and where they would choose their replacement.
Given the constraints that exist for the covid-19, there is the possibility that the meeting will give the virtual and are the representatives of the countries in Washington in charge of depositing the votes.
The experience of Claver-Carone, in comparison with his predecessors, is more limited. Before arriving at the National Security Council, the officer worked in the Department of the Treasury and was representative of EE. UU. before the International Monetary Fund.
The other candidates don’t know much in the region. After the conversations that I have had in the last 48 hours, I am relieved and confident in the possibilities that this will give
Born in Florida, a lawyer from the Catholic University of American studies at Rollins College, Claver-Carone it is of cuban origin and in his years of public life has made clear his profound antipathy toward the communist regime of the Castro brothers and their allies left in the region. Recently, he has spearheaded the pressure from the administration Trump against the regime of Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela.
Although your choice is still not a fact, Claver-Carone already have the endorsement of Brazil, Ecuador, El Salvador, and Colombiawith whom she has a close relationship.
(It may be of interest: ‘The business class in Colombia is absent and that does a lot of damage’).
In fact, Claver-Carone-Carone, in his first public statements, gave for granted that will be elected in September.
“The other candidates don’t know much in the region. After the conversations that I have had in the last 48 hours, I am relieved and confident for the opportunities that this is likely,” said Claver-Carone.
But the issue is complex. From the time of the post-war era, when he consolidated the scheme of the multilateral banksestablished a sort of ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ in which each region would assume the leadership in each one of these institutions.
The World Bank for the EE. UU., the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the europeans, the IADB for the Latin american and the African Bank for Development for the africans.
The move by EE. UU. in this sense it is unusual and breaks the mould. The europeans, for example, may start to question whether Washington has also planned a challenge to assume the control of the IMF.
(Also read: ‘If I were a Mature, not he will sleep safe in Caracas‘).
Or in another field, you could open the door for EE. UU. you decide to go by the General Secretariat of the OASthat also falls on the shoulders of Latin america. The explanation of Claver-Carone is that it is a decision that would be good for the region.
“Do you want that the largest economy in the world to associate for the benefit of the region where we live? I think the answer is yes” said the official.
And it is vented to the idea that with the U.S., this country could expand the capital funding just at a time when the region faces from the economic crisis that is causing the coronavirus.
But in the background there are more. Since Trump came to the presidency has made it clear not only that is suspicious of multilateral institutions, but that feels mistreated for being considered a partner when it provides sometimes many more funds than the rest. It happened with the NATO, is going on in the UN and just pass with the World Health Organization, where you just check out.
In other words, in the world of Trump, if EE. UU. puts 30 per cent of the capital of the IDB is entitled to exercise a majority. And although before he did so in an indirect way –to get to the presidency of the IDB has been necessary to the endorsement of Washington–, now wish to exercise a more direct control.
(It may be of interest: Trump withdraws to EE. UU. WHO and announces sanctions against China).
At the same time, in EE. UU. there is a lot of concern about the Chinese expansion in the region through credits, infrastructure projects and other business and feels that the IDB has facilitated that penetration.
China, which is also a partner of the IDB, has become a source of disputes standing between Washington and the current leadership of the Bank. In fact, in this capital city knows that Claver-Carone and Moreno are not good friends and have had several disagreements.
Or Claver-Carone or manage Trump, for example, agreed that it will offer China the possibility of organizing the assembly of the 2019 in Beijing. And then threatened to boycott the appointment if the communist government has not extended an invitation to the person who named the venezuelan president John Guaidó as your representative to the IDB.
China, that does not recognize Guaidó but Nicolas Madurohe refused to give a visa, and the BID ended up canceling the assembly within a week of its start. And Claver-Carone does not hide that part of the onslaught of EE. UU. the IDB is associated with the role that was playing in Beijing and its expansion into Latin america.
In the case of Colombia, the output of the official of the White House will have some impact to the bilateral relations since it was very close to the ambassador Francisco Santos and gateway to the radar of Trump, with whom they were working very closely on Venezuela and in the fight against drugs. Santos remains close to the head of Claver-Carone –National Security Advisor Robert o’brien– because they worked together when he was the chief antisecuestros in the Department of State. But still loses in a direct line with the president.
His arrival at the IDB, however, it could benefit the current government of Ivan Duke now that you’ll need the international banks to weather the crisis. At least until November, because nobody knows what will happen in the presidential elections of EE. UU. and how it would affect that relationship, an eventual triumph of the democrat Joe Biden.
SERGIO GÓMEZ MASERI
A correspondent of THE TIME
On Twitter: @sergom68