Regional lender to vote on Venezuela’s opposition consultant

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Forty-eight member countries of the Inter-American Development Bank will vote over the next week on accepting a representative from Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaido to the board of the regional lender, bank officials said on Friday.

The 48-member board of governors will have until Friday, March 15, to vote on the issue. It is not clear what would happen to President Nicolas Maduro’s representative, Oswaldo Javier Perez Cuevas, if the vote supported a change.

The IADB is the largest source of development financing to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Guaido, who has the support of 57 countries, including the United States and others in Latin America, named Harvard University economist Ricardo Hausmann as the country’s representative to the IADB.

If member countries agree to accept Hausmann, the IADB would be the first financial institution to back Guaido. The International Monetary Fund and World Bank have yet to make such a move.

Washington has said that billions of dollars of financing from multilateral banks will be needed to rebuild Venezuela’s economy when Maduro steps down. The country, hurt by years of hyperinflation and shortages of food and medicine, was paralyzed on Friday by the worst power blackout in decades.