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Secret IDB Proposal Would Give $48 Billion Infusion to Boost Venezuela’s Economy — But Only After Regime Change

Published: April 18, 2019
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Source: The Intercept

THE INTER-AMERICAN Development Bank is quietly circulating an analysis that foresees an up to $48 billion infusion of capital into the Venezuelan economy should President Nicolás Maduro be removed from office. A pair of confidential documents, both called “Venezuela: Challenges and Opportunities,” outlines a four-year plan to open the country’s beleaguered economy to foreign corporations through privatization, structural reforms, and public-private partnerships.

The documents — slide decks that were obtained by The Intercept — are circulating in an 11-slide summarized version and a 27-slide full version, both classified as “confidential.” The author is marked in the first slides of both presentations as the bank’s secretary, who is responsible for organizing discussions between the bank, governments, and private companies. The presentations, which are dated March 15, are addressed to executive directors of the Inter-American Development Bank and IDB Invest, the bank’s investment arm aimed at lending to private companies.

Founded in 1959, the IDB offers financing and technical assistance for infrastructure, health, and education projects in Latin America and the Caribbean. The bank is owned by 48 countries: 26 borrowing member countries and 22 nonborrowing member countries. Currently, the five largest shareholders are the U.S., with 30 percent of voting shares; Argentina and Brazil, with 11.2 percent each; Mexico, with 7.2 percent; and Japan, which has 5 percent of voting shares.

The improvements in Venezuelans’ daily lives would allow self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó to claim a victory — by benefiting from international assistance that is being denied to the current leadership.

The dominant position of the U.S. has raised questions about the bank’s independence. Indeed, U.S. President Donald Trump’s aggressive stance on regime change helped urge IDB officials into pushing the analysis of a post-Maduro Venezuela, a source told The Intercept.

The Maduro regime has long claimed that the country’s economic collapse is the result of a capital crunch driven by sanctions and a coordinated financial assault by the United States for the purposes of undermining and overthrowing the socialist government. The emergence of the IDB-led plan will only heighten those suspicions.

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