President Donald Trump shocked his Latin American allies on Tuesday when he nominated his own adviser, Mauricio Claver-Carone, to the chair of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), a position traditionally reserved for an economist from the region.
Claver-Carone is known for his anti-communist credentials and is said to have played a key role in pushing measures against Cuba and Venezuela. He would become the immediate successor to Luis Alberto Moreno, a Colombian, who has held the position since 2005 and is considered to be widely popular among the IDB staffing ranks. Moreno is set to step down in September.
Ecuador has endorsed the US nomination, with Claver-Carone claiming that Brazil too would back him.
However, analysts say Trump’s move will irritate many of his friends in the region, particularly Brazil, which had also proposed its candidate. Following the US nomination, Brazil will back off, choosing not to anger the White House.
Claver-Carone is currently serving as a deputy assistant to Trump and senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs. Reports say he was also behind the creation of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation.
The United States has a larger say in running the international lender, as it owns a 30% share in the bank, with Brazil and Argentina owning 11% each. Mexico’s leftist President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador may oppose the US nomination, but his country lacks the clout because of its least shareholding in the bank.
Some countries are expressing their disappointment in public. In a talk with Reuters, Colombia’s former finance minister Mauricio Cardenas said: “This has always been the position for a Latin American to have a seat on the global stage. It is a small victory for the USA and a great defeat for Latin America.”