Donald Trump has hijacked the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). A few days ago, Mauricio Claver-Carone was the first American to be elected to the head of the IDB. The close confidante of the US President has a central position in the financing of larger development projects in Latin America after the corona crisis.
So far it has been an unwritten law that the presidency of the financial institution should be left to a Latin American. But Trump pushed Claver-Carone’s candidacy, which was supported by Brazil, Colombia and some smaller states. The 45-year-old will head the IDB for five years from October. Observers fear that loans will increasingly be granted on a purely political basis in the future.
For Mexico’s ex-foreign minister, Jorge Castañeda, the election symbolizes “the defeat of the region” against the USA. Not only he fears that the IDB will become politicized in the US dispute with China, which has been expanding its economic presence in the region for years. After the election, Claver-Carone announced that it would make the IDB “a real financial powerhouse” and weaken China’s role as a lender in the region.
The new IDB boss has little technical expertise. The Miami-born Cuban lawyer was a US representative in the International Monetary Fund. Argentina’s Foreign Minister Felipe Solá criticized that Claver-Carone reflected the “toughest ideological wing of US policy towards Latin America.” As Regional Director in the US Government’s Security Council, he was most recently one of the main designers of strategies for regime change in Cuba and Venezuela. Cuba’s foreign minister, Bruno Rodríguez, criticized the election as “a danger and an insult to our peoples”. It is difficult to find someone less suitable.