Inteligencia y Seguridad Frente Externo En Profundidad Economia y Finanzas Transparencia
  En Parrilla Medio Ambiente Sociedad High Tech Contacto
Frente Externo  
 
27/06/2020 | US - Statement On The Inter-American Development Bank. . . . Congressional Record. Mr. LEAHY.

Senator Patrick Leahy

According to press reports, the Trump Administration plans to nominate Mauricio Claver-Carone to be the next President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). It is also my understanding that a number of Latin American governments have already expressed support for his nomination.

 

As someone who has supported the IDB for decades, including at times when amendments were proposed to eliminate or reduce the U.S. contribution, it is important to be aware that this nomination could jeopardize United States support for, and cooperation with, that institution.  Further, if the U.S. Treasury Department and other IDB shareholders believe this nominee will help to build support for a capital increase for the Bank in the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, of which I am Vice Chairman, Mr. Claver-Carone is the wrong nominee to make the case for such an increase.

This nomination would break a 60-year precedent that a Latin American serves as President of the IDB and a U.S. citizen serves as Executive Vice President.  That precedent exists for a reason.  The Bank is an institution working to improve the lives of millions of people in Latin America and the Caribbean, and absent a compelling reason to the contrary it should continue to be led by a person from the region it serves.  There are any number of Latin Americans who are well-qualified for the job, and who would be supported by the United States.

I am disappointed, albeit not surprised, that the Trump Treasury Department would nominate such a controversial candidate as Mr. Claver-Carone.  As senior director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council, he has been the architect of President Trump’s most ideologically-driven policies toward Latin America – policies that have failed to achieve any of their stated goals.  In fact, these ineffective policies have made resolving conflicts with governments we disagree with more difficult, and they have complicated our relations with friends and allies.

Mr. Claver-Carone’s idea of diplomacy is often to admonish and impose sanctions, which in Latin America more often than not means unilateral sanctions, which have isolated the United States, emboldened those who the sanctions are intended to punish, and harmed people in those countries who we want to help.  While there are circumstances when well-designed sanctions make sense, Mr. Claver-Carone seems to believe that even when it is obvious that sanctions have failed the solution is to tighten them rather than fix them.  This approach to regional problems is wholly unsuited for the IDB, whose shareholders have traditionally supported the institution, in part, because of its long history of addressing regional priorities.  A polarizing American at the helm could intensify divisions, weaken shareholder support, and diminish the Bank’s ability to carry out its mission on behalf of the people it was established to serve.  

I also worry that a Claver-Carone presidency at the IDB would set the Bank on a collision course with its largest shareholder, the United States, should Vice President Biden win in November.  Electing Mr. Claver-Carone to a five-year term just weeks before the U.S. presidential election, coupled with his unpopularity with some Members of Congress, including key members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees, would not bode well for United States support for the Bank in the coming years. 

For these reasons, I urge the IDB Board of Governors to carefully consider the enormity of the economic, public health, political, and other challenges currently confronting Latin America, and the implications of Mr. Claver-Carone’s election shortly before the U.S. presidential election.  These challenges have been greatly compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will have grave ramifications for the social, economic, and political stability of the region for years to come.

The need for steady IDB leadership that can build consensus during this time of regional uncertainty has never been more evident than it is today.

I ask unanimous consent that an article in The Economist on the Claver-Carone nomination be printed in the Record.

 

***The Economist

A gringo takeover bid for the Inter-American Development Bank

The United States breaks a gentlemen’s agreement

 

June 20th 2020

Since it was founded in 1959, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has had just four presidents: a Chilean, a Mexican, a Uruguayan and, since 2005, Luis Alberto Moreno, a Colombian. Under the gentlemen’s agreement by which it was founded, Latin America has the presidency and a small majority of the capital while the United States has the number-two job and some informal vetoes over how the bank is run. The IDB has not been free of the faults of such institutions, such as bureaucracy and a degree of cronyism, but it has played an important role in the region. It lends around $12bn a year for infrastructure, health, education and so on, does some useful research and advises governments. It has also been a channel of communication between the two halves of the Americas.

Donald Trump doesn’t believe in gentlemen’s agreements, and his administration this week broke this one. The Treasury Department named Mauricio Claver-Carone, the top official for Latin America at the National Security Council (NSC), as its candidate to replace Mr Moreno, who is due to step down in September. Mr Claver-Carone, a Cuban-American, is technically qualified for the post. He has been an adviser to the Treasury and a representative to the IMF, and was involved in the Trump administration’s initiatives on development finance. He has told interlocutors that he would serve only one term at the IDB, would bring fresh ideas and would be better placed than a Latin American to get the Treasury’s crucial support for a capital increase that would give the bank resources to mitigate the covid-19 slump in the region. These are things that many in Latin America might welcome.

But Mr Claver-Carone is a controversial choice, and not just because his nomination breaks with tradition. At the NSC he has been the chief architect of Mr Trump’s Venezuela policy, which has failed in its aim of getting rid of the dictatorship of Nicolás Maduro. “He’s a guy who comes with very Miami-type baggage, adversarial to Cuba and Venezuela and representing a conservative alliance,” says a Latin American diplomat. “He would bring ideology directly into the bank.” Mr Claver-Carone walked out of the inauguration of Argentina’s president, Alberto Fernández, in December because of the presence of a Venezuelan minister. Many who have dealt with him describe him as arrogant and confrontational.

Given the Trump administration’s cold war against China, Mr Claver-Carone’s appointment as head of the IDB might force Latin America to choose between the two countries, which the region is reluctant to do. Although China is granting fewer loans to Latin America than it did recently, it remains one of the region’s most important trade partners. The Trump administration was furious with Mr Moreno for agreeing to hold the bank’s annual meeting in China in 2019 (though in the event it was delayed and moved to Ecuador because of a row over who represented Venezuela). Mr Claver-Carone has his own animus against Mr Moreno, who vetoed his appointment as the bank’s vice-president.

For Latin America the loss of the IDB presidency would be a big diplomatic defeat, reflecting the region’s weakness and ideological division. Its leaders are a generally unimpressive bunch. They have failed to unite behind a candidate of their own. Diplomats expected the job to go either to Brazil or to Argentina. Jair Bolsonaro’s government in Brazil informally canvassed support for Rodrigo Xavier, an experienced banker. Argentina’s putative candidate, Gustavo Béliz, is a competent former IDB official, but its centre-left government has few allies in the region. Brazil looks likely to back Mr Claver-Carone, mainly because Mr Bolsonaro has aligned himself closely with Mr Trump. Other smaller countries may, too, because they are desperate for money.

The new president must secure a double majority, of countries representing 50% of the IDB’s shares (the United States has 30% and Brazil 11%) and separately of the 28 members in the Americas. That may yet be a problem for Mr Claver-Carone.

The biggest reason to oppose his nomination is that he represents a polarizing administration that may well lose an election in November, making him “the earliest lame duck in history”, as a South American official puts it. The sensible course would be to extend Mr Moreno’s term until next year, both to give time for other candidates to emerge and to see whether Mr Claver-Carone really represents the United States.

 

***Biography About Senator Leahy

 Patrick Leahy was elected to the United States Senate in 1974 and remains the only Democrat elected to this office from Vermont.  At 34, he was the youngest U.S. Senator ever to be elected from the Green Mountain State.

Leahy was born in Montpelier and grew up across from the State House.  A graduate of Saint Michael's College in Colchester (1961), he received his Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center (1964).  He served for eight years as State's Attorney in Chittenden County where he gained a national reputation for his law enforcement activities and was selected as one of three outstanding prosecutors in the United States in 1974.

Leahy is the Vice Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee. He is the senior-most member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and of the Senate Agriculture Committee. Leahy is the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State Department, Foreign Operations and Related Programs. He ranks first in seniority in the Senate.

Active on human rights issues, Leahy is the leading U.S. officeholder in the international campaign against the production, export and use of anti-personnel landmines.  In 1992, Leahy wrote the first law by any government to ban the export of these weapons.  He led efforts in Congress to aid mine victims by creating a special fund in the foreign aid budget, and the Leahy War Victims Fund now provides up to $14 million of relief to these victims each year.  He was instrumental in establishing programs to support humanitarian demining and played a key role in pushing for an international treaty banning anti-personnel mines.  He also wrote and enacted civilian war victims relief programs in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attacks of September 11, Leahy headed the Senate's negotiations on the 2001 anti-terrorism bill, the USA PATRIOT Act.  He added checks and balances to the bill to protect civil liberties, provisions to triple staffing along the U.S.-Canada border, to authorize domestic preparedness grants to states, and to facilitate the hiring of new FBI translators.

Leahy's Judiciary Committee investigation into the mass firings of U.S. Attorneys and of White House attempts to exert political influence over the Justice Department led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the Department's entire top rank of political appointees in 2008.

Leahy is the chief sponsor of the Innocence Protection Act, which addresses flaws in the administration of capital punishment.  Parts of Leahy's death penalty reform package, which were enacted in 2004, help reduce the risks that innocent people are executed by providing for post-conviction DNA testing and better access to competent legal counsel.

A leader on Internet and technology issues, Leahy was the second senator to post a homepage.  His website consistently has been named one of the Senate's best, and a leading Internet magazine called Leahy the most "Net-friendly" member of Congress.  He has been the Senate's leading champion of open government and of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and in 1996 was installed in the FOIA Hall of Fame in recognition of his efforts.  He is one of only two politicians ever awarded the John Peter Zenger Press Freedom Award.  An avid and accomplished photographer, Leahy’s photography has been published in USA TODAY, The New York Times, Time Magazine and Roll Call.

Leahy has crusaded for the protection of privacy rights, copyright protections and freedom of speech on the Internet.  He was a co-founder and remains a co-chair of the Congressional Internet Caucus.  Leahy has taken the lead on several privacy issues, including drafting legislation to address data and email privacy and security and leading the effort to enact privacy safeguards for electronic health records.

Always ranked among the top environmental legislators by the nation's foremost conservation organizations, Leahy successfully opposed attempts to allow oil and gas exploration in wildlife refuges in the United States, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the Missisquoi Wildlife Refuge in Vermont.  Leahy helped secure more than $70 million in federal funds to clean up Lake Champlain and spearheaded congressional efforts to tackle the dangers of mercury pollution.  He worked to add more than 125,000 acres to the Green Mountain National Forest, an accomplishment matched by few lawmakers of any era.

Leahy led bipartisan efforts to streamline the Department of Agriculture, and the 1994 Leahy-Lugar bill reorganized the U.S. Department of Agriculture by closing 1100 offices and saving more than $2 billion.  Leahy led the successful effort to extend the Conservation Reserve Program, which assists farmers in meeting environmental objectives without reducing income.  Leahy's Farms for the Future program -- now the Farmland Protection Program, which was created in the 1990 Farm Bill -- helped preserve more than 350 Vermont farms.  He played a crucial role in enactment and implementation of the Northeast Interstate Dairy Compact and also worked with others in the Vermont Congressional Delegation in establishing the Milk Income Loss Compensation (MILC) program, modeled on the Compact.  Leahy also is the father of the national organic standards and labeling program, which took effect in October 2002.

Leahy co-chairs the Senate National Guard Caucus and led in ensuring that members of the National Guard in Vermont and across the nation receive the necessary resources to fulfill their heightened missions after 9/11.  In 2003 the National Guard Association presented Leahy with its highest individual honor, the Harry S. Truman Award, for his "sustained contributions of exceptional and far-reaching magnitude to the defense and security of the United States in a manner worthy of recognition at the national level."

Patrick Leahy has been married to Marcelle Pomerleau Leahy since 1962.  They have a daughter, two sons, and five grandchildren.  The Leahys live on a tree farm in Middlesex, Vermont.

US Congress (Estados Unidos)

 



 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House