Venezuela Stalemate Still Blocking IMF, World Bank Aid

International Monetary Fund and World Bank shareholders are still undecided on whether to recognize Venezuelan opposition chief Juan Guaido as the country’s leader, the institutions said on Thursday, Reuters informed.

The heads of the IMF and World Bank both said they are preparing to move quickly to help ease Venezuela’s worsening humanitarian crisis, but the leadership question is standing in the way.

“It is for our members to indicate which authority they are recognizing diplomatically so we can then follow through,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a press conference at the start of the IMF and World Bank spring meetings in Washington. “It is in progress as we speak, from quite a few members. As soon as that happens, we will follow up.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross also announced that it is to triple aid to Venezuela, a day after the crisis-riven President Nicolas Maduro approved the delivery of humanitarian assistance, Guardian reported.

The organization announced the increase in the face of mounting calls for the UN to recognize the scale of the crisis facing Venezuela, and amid continued moves by the Trump administration to persuade other countries to back its calls for the removal of  Maduro.

More than 50 countries, including the United States and Venezuela’s largest neighbors, have recognized Guaido, the head of the National Assembly, as the South American nation’s leader. Russia and others dismiss that claim and recognize Nicolas Maduro, long-time president and heir to the late Hugo Chavez, as the legitimate head of state.

A simple majority of member votes could decide who the official delegate from a country to the IMF is and a call for such a vote would have to come from the IMF’s leadership. So far, there have been no announcements in that regard.

Based on the countries which have publicly supported Guaido or Maduro as the legitimate leader of Venezuela, and their voting weighting inside the World Bank and the IMF, Guaido’s representative could get more than half the votes according to a Reuters tally.

Public support from a government for Guaido does not necessarily mean that country would vote for his representative at the IMF, and even a slight majority would not necessarily move the traditionally consensus-driven bank to act.

The United States has by far the highest percentage of voting power both at the World Bank and the IMF for any single member, with nearly 16% of the vote at both institutions.

The Inter-American Development Bank last month recognized Guaido appointee Ricardo Hausmann as Venezuela’s representative.

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