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LATIN AMERICA | 12-09-2020 10:25

Trump’s candidate set for IDB presidency as Argentina pulls out

Government pulls Gustavo Beliz out of the running, leaving Mauricio Claver-Carone as only candidate to lead Inter-American Development Bank.

US President Donald Trump’s candidate Mauricio Claver-Carone is due to be elected head of the Inter-American Development Bank this Saturday, after Argentina dramatically pulled its candidate out of the running.

The government’s decision on Thursday arrived a day after news broke that Mexico would cast a ballot in this Saturday’s vote to decide the top job, practically ensuring the minimum threshold for members present would be reached.

The Washington-based bank lends more than US$10 billion per year to fund social and infrastructure programmes in the region and is seen as key to finance Latin America’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. Luis Alberto Moreno, the current president and a former Colombian ambassador to the United States, is set to step down at the end of this month after 15 years at the helm.

Some nations had urged to delay the upcoming vote due to the global pandemic, but the subtext was uproar over Trump nominating adviser a Cuba and Venezuela hard-liner, to break six decades of tradition of the bank’s head coming from Latin America.

Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Costa Rica and the European Union said last month the election should be postponed. President Alberto Fernández also called on other IDB members to join the protest, saying that the pandemic hasn’t allowed countries appropriate time to debate the future of the bank.

However, that bid seems to have collapsed. On Thursday, when the deadline to present candidates expired, Claver-Carone was left as the only candidate, the IDB’s press office confirmed. 

Though former Costa Rica president Laura Chincilla pulled herself out of the running last week, Argentina was expected to put forward Strategic Affairs Secretary Gustavo Beliz, an adviser to President Fernández.

Despite the decision, the government didn’t hide its disappointment.

"We establish our agreement with the multiple and respected voices of the most diverse political, academic, social and ideological origins that have expressed the inconvenience for Latin America and the Caribbean of violating a tradition of regional governance," said the government in a statement.

– TIMES/AFP

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