Trump’s candidate caresses the IDB presidency

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Mauricio Claver-Carone has the necessary support to win the vote on Saturday and thus become the first non-Latin American president of the multilateral

The US assault on the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) will be consummated soon. If there are no last-minute surprises, the member countries will elect Mauricio Claver-Carone as president this Saturday, the man chosen by Donald Trump to occupy a position traditionally reserved for a Latin American. The end of a historic tradition mobilized some countries in the region, led by Argentina, in an unprecedented blockade strategy. Buenos Aires already knows that they will lose the election, but last night it maintained its candidate, Gustavo Béliz, as an elegant corollary of a failed strategy.

Argentina tried until the last moment to add accessions to not provide a quorum in the meeting, the only possible way to postpone the election until March when, according to many polls, Trump probably no longer sleeps in the White House. He threw in the towel this week, when it was evident that he would not be able to add the 25% of absences necessary for it. If the session is finally held, as planned, Claver-Carone will have plenty of votes to take over as the next head of a key entity for regional development. “The American candidate apparently not only has a quorum but he has the numbers to win. He says that 17 Latin American countries have given him their vote in favor, “said Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá, assuming a sung defeat.

The election of the IDB president has always been a source of disputes, but never as much as now. Trump’s decision to move forward on the main source of regional funding had the immediate support of Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. Foreign Minister Solá regretted the swift alignment of his partners in Mercosur. “It is a sign of the disarticulation that we have at this moment in the face of external issues. We would have preferred that in some cases our neighbors consulted us, ”he said. In the Colombian case, the historic alignment of Bogotá with Washington was never in doubt.

The Argentine blockade strategy then seemed far away, until the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell, urged in a letter to the EU countries to support a delay in the vote as the best way out for Trump’s candidate. The possibility of Europe accompanying Argentina ended up favoring Chile and then Mexico, always under the argument that the election of a new IDB president deserved a face-to-face and not remote meeting, due to the pandemic.

Votes in the IDB are nominal, but their weight is worth the percentage of each country in the institution. Claver-Carone has a guaranteed victory thanks to the support of the United States (30% of the votes), Brazil (11.3%), Colombia (3.1%) and other Latin American countries already committed to Washington’s proposal. The key to the Argentine maneuver was to avoid meeting the minimum quorum of 75% necessary to validate the vote. If all the EU countries (9.3%) did not participate, adding the votes of Argentina (11.3%) and Chile (3.1%), that option was feasible. The position of Mexico was yet to be defined, which has 7.2% and which has turned unexpectedly in recent days, raising significant blisters in the region.

The former president of Costa Rica, Laura Chinchilla, who was presented as a consensus bet, withdrew her candidacy a week ago. Seen in perspective, the withdrawal was the first sign that the common position against Claver-Carone was cracking and leaving Argentina’s Béliz as the only alternative to Trump’s man.

The dispute was then reduced to a game of two. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador pledged to his Argentine counterpart, Alberto Fernández, his vote for Béliz. He also supported the idea of ​​postponing the vote, but it was not clear if that included the strategy of not providing a quorum. Until this Thursday. “The position of Mexico was to take time to discuss [el nombramiento en el BID], but it seems that this is not going to happen. The vote will take place over the weekend, ”he told Reuters the Mexican Undersecretary of Finance, Gabriel Yorio, reports Sonia Corona.

“There has not been a frank and common position of the countries opposed to the appointment of Claver-Carone,” says a source involved in the process from minute zero, reports Ignacio Fariza. And she adds: “The feeling is that we have been moving in a circle. Since the US presented a candidate, we knew it was going to be very difficult, but the disappointment is enormous. We deserve what is going to happen. The region is solely responsible: we have sought it out. It is a surrender to a small sector of the Republican Party represented by Trump. Claver Carone already caresses the presidency of the IDB.

The European Commission has been anchored for weeks in its conviction that the best way out for the IDB would be to delay the vote, an option that today seems remote. That position was reflected in the letter that Josep Borrell sent to the Foreign Minister, Arancha González Laya, and a community spokesperson assured that this demand has not changed, although he did not want to specify whether Borrell was going to make any recommendation to the member states represented. in the Bank’s capital, informs Lluís Pellicer.

With Spain and Portugal as the countries most involved from minute zero to try to avoid the quorum, in recent days some important partners, such as France, have been increasingly reluctant to block the election and have internally urged an agreement between the countries of the region that today seems impossible. “It is up to the members of the region to discuss and achieve a compromise,” an official French source slides EL PAÍS. In other words: they would only move if there was a very clear position in Latin America. And it is not the case.

Spain continued to seek the maximum possible consensus in the region, something that seems impossible. Spanish diplomacy welcomed Borrell’s position and observed with interest the Argentine mobilization, supported by Chile and other countries in the region, to postpone the election of the bank’s new president until March. But if this alteration of the calendars causes a fracture between the Ibero-American partners, direct recipients of the action of this body, the Spanish Government prefers to take a step back. “If there was a clear line to postpone the vote, Spain would support it. But if not, our position is in support of the majority. The IDB is not for Europe ”, argue the sources consulted, reports Lucia Abellán. With close to 2% in voting rights, the highest European percentage together with Rome, Madrid sought in recent days to achieve, at least, a joint European position in this battle.

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