PANAMA (AP) – A security adviser to the United States government was elected on Saturday the new president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) for the next five years, becoming the first non-Latin American leader of the organization since its founding six decades ago. .

Mauricio Claver-Carone won the election despite opposition previously shown by several countries in the region, including Argentina and Mexico. The choice was made during an electronic meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors, the institution’s highest authority.

He is the first US representative to head the bank that lends the most money to Latin American countries. He will replace Colombian Luis Alberto Moreno as of October 1.

To be elected president of the IDB, a majority of the total votes of the member countries was required. Claver-Carone was almost assured of victory thanks to the support of the United States (30% of the votes), Brazil (11.3%), Colombia (3.1%) and other Latin American countries that had committed to Washington’s proposal , including Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay and El Salvador.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo congratulated Claver-Carone, who currently serves as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser for Latin America. He was also the United States representative to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and an advisor to the Under Secretary for International Affairs in the Treasury Department.

“In his role on the National Security Council, Mr. Claver-Carone has been a visionary leader in advancing prosperity in the Western Hemisphere and a strong advocate for the democratic institutions and security cooperation that sustain growth. economic and development, ”Pompeo said.

Two of the Latin American countries with the most weight in the IDB —Argentina and Mexico— had raised their voices to avoid breaking a historical tradition and elect an American as president of the institution. Before the Colombian Moreno, the Spanish Enrique Iglesias (1988-2005), the Mexican Antonio Ortiz Mena (1971-1988) and the Chilean Felipe Herrera (1960-1971) presided over the bank.

« The United States put enough weight behind the candidacy and the opposition in Latin America was late and was not strong enough to be a serious effort to block the election, » Michael Camilleri, from the educational forum and from the US, told The Associated Press before the election. Inter-American Dialogue debate.

Argentina’s decision to withdraw its candidate, Gustavo Beliz, and participate in the vote finished paving the way to achieve the quorum of 75% of the investment capital necessary to hold the meeting, in which Claver-Carone was chosen.

Argentina announced its decision Thursday night, after unconfirmed reports emerged that Mexico would also participate in the Assembly.

Things were different last month.

Mexico indicated that it supported Argentina’s motion to postpone the IDB election. Chile, Costa Rica and some European IDB investor countries joined. Citing the coronavirus pandemic as one of the causes, the idea was also to delay it until at least after the November presidential elections in the United States.

In recent days, however, unofficial reports emerged that the Mexican government would attend the Assembly, helping to form the quorum for Claver-Carone to be president. The Mexican Ministry of Finance did not respond to messages from the AP to clarify its position.

In the IDB election, the votes are nominal, but the weight of each country is determined by the percentage of capital investment in the institution. Argentina has 11.3% of investments in the IDB; Mexico represents almost 7.3%.

When announcing its decision, the Argentine government clarified that it will abstain from voting and invited other countries to do the same.

Some analysts agree that Argentina made a miscalculation, speculating that Mexico would support and thus be able to postpone the election. They also criticize it as contradictory.

Others, however, maintain that it is a way of showing the United States that it allows it to win its candidate even though it does not accept him totally, in part because it does not want to break relations with a country that it needs to renegotiate its debt in the IMF, among other things.