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Latam Brief: IDB president removed after ethics probe (September 27, 2022)


Governors of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) voted yesterday to fire the bank’s president, Mauricio Claver-Carone, following an investigation revealing Claver-Carone’s intimate relationship with a subordinate. The IDB’s board had voted unanimously last week to recommend his firing. The investigation found that Claver-Carone unilaterally awarded a 40% pay raise to his chief of staff, with whom he was having a romantic relationship. Claver-Carone wrote in a departure letter that ““The Bank has failed to meet the mark as a rules-based institution,” noting that he is considering legal action against the institution over the decision. The former president reportedly failed to fully cooperate with the investigation by refusing to grant access to his work phone or communications from his personal phone and email. 

Claver-Carone was the first IDB president hailing from the United States following the Trump administration’s decision to nominate him and snub the tradition of electing a Latin American for the post. Executive Vice President Reina Mejia, a Honduran national, will serve as acting vice president until a new president is chosen—nominations are expected as early as next week. (ReutersAP)

More Regional

  • Colombia and Venezuela reopened their border to trade yesterday, reports Reuters. Air travel has not yet resumed, but is expected soon, reports Crónica Uno

  • Colombia’s Petro has formally requested that Venezuela’s Maduro rejoin the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IADH) of the Organization of American States (OAS), reports El País.

  • In a new report on democracy and great power competition in Latin America and the Caribbean, CSIS argues that “democracy promotion in LAC is both a moral and strategic imperative.” 


  • Argentine film “Argentina, 1985,” which depicts the trials against the country’s military junta, was chosen to compete for “Best International Feature Film” at the next Oscar Awards ceremony, according to Infobae.

  • YPF, Argentina’s state-run oil company, plans to start lithium exploration next month, reports Mining Technology.

  • A conflict between tire producers and union members has caused tire production to come to a halt, which in turn has caused car companies to stop production momentarily, says Perfíl. Major tire production companies such as Bridgestone have also temporarily ceased operations in Argentina until the conflict is resolved.   


  • A Lula supporter was stabbed to death on Saturday after stating that he planned to vote for the former president in the upcoming election (O PovoAP). Reuters reports that following the killing of a Lula supporter this past July, the Federal Police outfit guarding Lula sent a classified memo to the top Federal Police officers in each state, asking “to reinforce Lula campaign events with bulletproof cars, tactical teams, drones and intelligence reports.” 

  • Gun ownership has ballooned under Bolsonaro, and Brazil is building its own version of the NRA, ProArmas: “Brazilians are prohibited from carrying them in public unless they’re going hunting or to a shooting range, or have a permit to do so. They are also required to pass background checks and psychological evaluations before purchasing a gun, which can take months. Loosening such restrictions is among ProArmas’ long-term objectives. The group’s immediate goal, though, is to codify into law the expanded gun access that Bolsonaro made through executive decrees. That would prevent Lula from repealing the decrees, as he’s promised to do if he wins the election,” reports Vice

  • “Brazil’s Supreme Court has drastically expanded its power to counter the antidemocratic stances of Mr. Bolsonaro and his supporters. In the process, according to experts in law and government, the court has taken its own repressive turn,” says The New York Times.

  • The Financial Times notes: ““Evandro Buccini, economist at Rio Bravo Investimentos, says progress will show elusive with out large reforms. “We have low investment rates, low saving rates, the deterioration of the demographic profile and, the most important one, a lack of productivity growth. In terms of productivity, Brazil has stagnated for the past 20 to 30 years,” he says. “If you want to talk about [improving] productivity, you need to talk about education and trade, neither of which are detailed in Lula or Bolsonaro’s plans.””


  • As Wazim Mowla and Riyad Insanally write for the Atlantic Council, the US-Caribbean Partnership to Address the Climate Crisis 2030 (PACC2030) should seek to find quick access for financing for CARICOM countries to invest in climate and energy resilience, increase the role of the US private sector in PACC2030’s implementation, and ensure that the expertise and the technologies brought to the region are taught, not just given.


  • The world’s oldest living tree may be in Chile, reports The Guardian, with Gran Abuelo an estimated 5,484 years old. 


  • A new Crisis Group report explores military reform in Colombia, writing “The military is the only institution capable of responding to resurgent violence in the short term. Yet its emphasis on high-level captures and coca eradication undermines community safety. By changing its goals and methods, it can help build confidence, become more effective and better protect civilians from armed groups.”

  • Will Freeman writes at Americas Quarterly that for President Gustavo Petro to successfully implement his “total peace” security plan, he will need buy-in from a wide variety of actors: the country’s armed groups and criminal organizations, the armed forces and police, and the international community.


  • A “family law” referendum in Cuba was approved by almost 70% of the population, making same-sex marriage legal and implementing other socially-focused reforms, reports AP

  • “US Coast Guard crews have intercepted more than 6,000 Cubans since last October, according to the agency, the most in a fiscal year since the 1990s,” reports CNN


  • President Guillermo Lasso fired his minister of the interior and two police generals following a high profile femicide, reports MercoPress


  • Public officials have increasingly been using a law meant to deter violence against women as a way to prevent journalists from criticizing them or investigating corruption, says the LA Times.


  • Lizbeth Hernández writes at NACLA that transnational Mexican-US abortion networks have provided services to people from the United States following the overturning of Roe v Wade. 


  • “Opponents of the regime cannot negotiate with Maduro alone. He doesn’t make all the decisions, and there is no guarantee that he can sell any final agreement to everyone on his own side. Negotiations must instead include a wide set of regime actors, including those from the security forces, to guarantee that they aren’t simply playing one faction against another,” writes James Bosworth at WPR, ultimately arguing that negotiations “remain the best option for pressuring the regime and creating conditions that could potentially lead to an eventual transition of power.” 

  • Crónica Uno reports that return migration to Venezuela is of “isolated cases” and not a large-scale trend, with some return migrants also noting that they may emigrate from the country again. 

  • “The fugitive defense contractor nicknamed “Fat Leonard” who orchestrated a huge bribery scheme involving dozens of U.S. Navy officials has requested asylum in Venezuela,” reports AP.

Arianna Kohan y Jordi Amaral / Latin America Daily Briefing

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