On Saturday, Mauricio Claver-Carone, Donald Trump's candidate, was elected president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the first American to hold the position since the organization's creation in 1959, with 30 votes in favor and 16 abstentions, including those of Argentina and Mexico.
The election was unblocked after Argentina withdrew the candidacy of Gustavo Beliz, advisor to Alberto Fernandez and the candidate who had gained the most support in the region, among the countries resisting Trump's nomination. This decision hit hard in the government of Mexican LĂłpez Obrador who had buckled down with his Argentine counterpart in the struggle with Trump, to the point that he even declined to have his Minister of Economy be the president of the IDB, as the American president offered him at the time.
As confirmed by LPO Mexico, in the LĂłpez Obrador administration they suspect that Argentina dropped their candidate in a secret agreement with the Trump administration, which would include an executive position with real power in the IDB - it could be a vice presidency - which could be for Beliz himself or another candidate proposed by President Alberto FernĂˇndez.
The complete structure of the IDB will be known in the next few days, and if this designation is confirmed, it will cause discontent in AMLO's administration, because at the time he had evaluated accepting that his Minister of Economy, Graciela MĂˇrquez ColĂn, preside over the IDB, as Trump offered him at the beginning of the negotiations.
The United States has always held the vice-presidency of the IDB and controlled the Washington, DC headquarters, but always gave the presidency to a Latin American country.Trump, after the rejection of Lopez Obrador, who honored his agreement with FernĂˇndez, decided to go for the presidency.
At the time, Alberto managed to get LĂłpez Obrador to support BĂ©liz so that the tradition of a Latin American presiding over the development bank would be maintained. however, without the votes to prevail, the Argentine Secretary of Strategic Affairs gambled on blocking the election, leaving the assembly without quorum, with the support of Mexico, Chile and other Latin American and European countries, to the point that Claver-Carone, in a harsh public statement, accused Argentina of "hijacking" the election.
The Casa Rosada thus pushed to postpone the election until February, when it will also be known whether Trump won the reelection, which he will seek on November 3. But without further explanation on Thursday night, the government issued a statement announcing that BĂ©liz was withdrawing from the race and that Argentina would abstain along with the countries that had accompanied his electoral adventure.
Although the vote is secret, it became known that in addition to Mexico, Trinidad and Tobago, Nicaragua and other countries of the Caribbean block also abstained from voting.
Carone has a 5 year mandate, in the next days he must define his organizational chart and it will be known if Mexico's suspicions are founded. In any case, the decision to withdraw BĂ©liz' candidacy is in line with the growing concern among sectors of the official coalition due to the risk of a serious confrontation with Trump, with the possibility of his governing until 2024.
The leaders closest to the Trump administration in the Argentine government have versions that indicate that if Trump is reelected, he could use the IDB to launch an important post-pandemic plan of construction projects in the continent, similar to the "Marshall Plan" of the European post-war period, as another chapter in the geopolitical struggle with China. "The important thing is to receive funds and with a strong vice-presidency or executive position, in agreement with Trump, that would be guaranteed," sources from the national coalition affirmed to LPO.
The United States' desire to use the IDB as a tool of seduction in Latin America is not capricious, given China's advance in the region. As revealed by LPO, Argentine Vice-President Cristina Kirchner was responsible for the integration of Argentina into the Chinese credit system, through the incorporation of Argentina into the global infrastructure mega-project called the Silk Road and the Asian Infrastructure Bank, approved in the last session of the Senate. President Alberto FernĂˇndez has the task of ensuring that these ties do not erode the relationship with Trump, and the outcome of the fight at the IDB seems to be heading in that direction.
After the Argentine resistance was cleared, Carone was elected this Saturday in the IDB's Board of Governors behind closed doors, with a secret and virtual vote due to the coronavirus. Trump's candidate won the support of 30 countries, while 16 supported the abstention of Argentina, which was accompanied by European countries, plus Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago. Thus, Claver Carone obtained 21% of the votes in Latin America, although he stretched the difference between the votes of Canada and Japan plus some in the Caribbean.
Of Cuban origin, Claver Carone was born in Miami 44 years ago and is known for his frontal confrontation against the Castro regime and its partners in Venezuelan Chavism. In fact, before he became a public official with Trump, he stood out with his blog "Capitol Hill Cubans", to criticize Barack Obama's approach to Havana.
He joined Trump's transition team in 2016, and since September 2018 he has held the position of Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the Security Council's Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. From the White House he has led an initiative called Growth in the Americas, which proclaims his support for economic development in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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