Trump advisor set to lead Inter-American Development Bank

WASHINGTON (AFP) – An American advisor to United States (US) President Donald Trump is set to take the helm of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), potentially ending decades of Latin American leadership, the institution announced on Friday.

In a statement, the Washington-based bank said Director of Latin American Affairs in Trump’s National Security Council Mauricio Claver-Carone was the only candidate nominated by the deadline on Thursday, with the US, El Salvador, Guyana, Haiti, Israel and Paraguay backing his candidacy.

The election to appoint a successor to Colombian Luis Alberto Moreno, whose term expires at the end of the month, will take place this weekend in a virtual meeting among the 48 members of the bank.

Claver-Carone, who is of Cuban descent, would be the first non-Latin American in 60 years to lead the IDB, and this has caused friction among its member states.

Costa Rica was previously pushing a former president for the post, with the support of Mexico and Chile, however she withdrew earlier this month. Argentina briefly fielded a candidate who also withdrew, though its government under President Alberto Fernandez tried to delay the vote until next year due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

That suggestion prompted a brief war of words last month, with Claver-Carone telling reporters that Washington would resist “any attempt to hijack” the voting – comments that were later described as “aggressive” by Chile’s representative.

The bank is the main source of financing for development in Latin America and the Caribbean. It comprises 48 countries in the region and Europe plus the US, Canada, Israel, Japan, South Korea and China.

To win, a candidate must have the support of at least 15 of the 28 countries in the region as well as an overall majority of member countries, whose voting power is divied up into shares.

File photo shows Deputy Assistant to United States President Donald Trump and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs Mauricio Claver-Carone arriving to meet Bolivia’s Foreign Minister Karen Longaric in La Paz, Bolivia. PHOTO: AP