Monday, August 10, 2020

Trump's Latin America Nominees Are Bad in the Same Way

Not long ago, I wrote about how Trump pick for Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Carlos Trujillo, was a bad choice. Now Chris Sabatini wrote what is like a companion piece, namely that Trump's pick to head the Inter-American Development Bank, Mauricio Claver-Crone, is a terrible choice.

Plus, they are terrible in almost exactly the same ways. They are Marco Rubio-groomed ideologues with no experience, chosen solely with Florida electoral votes in mind. They are obsessed with Cuba and Venezuela, and can't seem to concentrate much on anything else.

The White House’s nomination of Mauricio Claver-Carone seems certainly informed by domestic politics — part of its strategy to win Florida’s 29 electoral votes in November. Currently the senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs at the National Security Council, Claver-Carone’s previous experience was running a one-man lobbying shop for the U.S.-Cuba embargo. The underqualified candidate owes his meteoric rise from relative obscurity to his benefactor, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — though the senator’s patronage twice failed to get him appointed as assistant secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, raising the question of why he should be in charge of a regional development institution at a time of unprecedented economic and social distress in Latin America.

These are important jobs at any time, but especially now. Latin America is in crisis, and political hacks are just not the way to go. They seem guaranteed to focus on all the wrong things.


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