Alberto Fernández’s political defense of Nicolás Maduro’s populist regime and his decision to promote Gustavo Beliz as head of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), yesterday strained the political relationship with Donald Trump, when the negotiation with the bondholders continues to get bogged down to manage to restructure the foreign debt and avoid a default judgment in the New York courts.
The President has profound political differences with his colleague from the United States, but through his second lines they had articulated a fluid bilateral relationship that ran far from ideological edges. Trump was taking advantage of Alberto Fernández’s arrival in Caracas, and Alberto Fernández was betting on Trump to have the support of the IMF and close a successful deal with private creditors.
In this context, Gustavo Beliz, Legal and Technical Secretary, and Jorge Arguello, Argentine Ambassador to Washington, access the White House and the State Department to exegete the diplomatic strategy designed by Alberto Fernández. And on the other of the line, Understanding the political dynamics involving Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, are Mauricio Claver and Elliot Abrams, two Republican officials who have direct access to the Oval Room.
The White House was betting on Alberto Fernández, but yesterday he made statements about Venezuela that set off alarms in the vicinity of Trump. The Argentine President questioned the systematic violation of human rights committed by Nicolás Maduro and then considered that the populist regime works under the basic norms of the democratic system.
Claver and Abrams have years in regional diplomacy and assume that it is impossible to reconcile crimes against humanity with the unrestricted validity of basic laws that apply in a modern democracy. By family roots, Claver knows the story of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, while Abrams was convicted of his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair. Without a doubt, they both know how a populist regime works.
Both officials – one in the White House and the other in the State Department – also dialogue with Alberto Fernández, and despite geopolitical differences, they always considered that it was very far from Cristina Fernández’s regional gaze. After the presidential statements to the announcer Víctor Hugo Morales, Claver and Abrams begin to doubt if – indeed – he has differences with his Vice President.
In addition to the presidential gaze on Maduro, Alberto Fernández’s decision to compete against Trump at the IDB caused unrest and tension in the White House. The United States, Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay, among other countries in the region, support Claver as head of the Inter-American Development Bank. Argentina pushes Beliz, and seeks the support of the European Union. If diplomacy has a certain logic, Claver will defeat Beliz.
“The figure of Claver is not questioned from the technical point of view, it is questioned from the political point of view, because it expresses the hardest wing of the ideologization of the policy of the United States towards America,” Foreign Minister Felipe Solá said yesterday.
Solá and Claver have outstanding accounts: The foreign minister never forgave Trump’s adviser for deciding not to participate in Alberto Fernández’s inauguration when he learned that the vice president of Venezuela, Jorge Rodríguez, had been invited, a key part of the regime led by Maduro. Claver learned later that Rodríguez was in Buenos Aires as a result of a secret diplomacy move that Alberto Fernández and Trump carried out.
But regardless of the differences between Solá and Claver, and the secret agreements that Alberto Fernández then made with Trump, the election of future IDB authorities is causing a strong diplomatic noise between the White House and the Casa Rosada.
And the chancellor’s statements would help little. In DC she asks Solá her ideological bias to disqualify Claver’s appointment, and they consider that her questioning is part of an internal bid with Beliz,. He is a Legal and Technical Secretary and often serves as Minister of Foreign Relations.
In this complex diplomatic scenario, negotiations with private creditors continue within a political and economic maze. Martín Guzmán assures in Olivos that it is possible to reach a significant level of adherence before the end of August, while investment funds led by BlackRock assure the contrary.
In the fifth presidential election, a silent gesture from Trump was expected to bring closer positions between the economy minister and the New York bondholders. Last night from Washington they assured Infobae that this gesture will take time to arrive.
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