News Latin America Dante Mossi, the questioned re-election of the banker who supports authoritarian regimes

Dante Mossi, the questioned re-election of the banker who supports authoritarian regimes

The governors of the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), one of the main financiers of impoverished Central America, will meet this May 12 in the Dominican Republic to discuss one of the most difficult issues they are currently facing: the re-election of Dante Mossi. as president of that financial entity. The management of the Honduran economist faces a series of criticisms in almost all the countries of the isthmus, due to the monetary support given to authoritarian regimes such as that of former President Juan Orlando Hernandez, that of Nayib Bukele in El Salvador, and especially that of Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo in Nicaragua, regardless of the destruction of the institutional framework, the opacity in the management of resources and the serious violations of human rights denounced in those countries.

The Nicaragua governed by Ortega and Murillo is the most emblematic case among those who criticize Mossi, who assumed the tutelage of CABEI in December 2018. Nicaraguan opponents agree that CABEI “has been and continues to be one of the greatest pillars of support for the dictatorship, by continuing to approve disbursements to the State of Nicaragua with 3.5 billion dollars in projects since 2017, even though the country’s population is smaller than that of Guatemala and Honduras, but has received almost 26% of the loan portfolio” from the bank .

Mossi maintains a very good and cordial relationship with the Nicaraguan presidential couple, to such an extent that in March 2022 he inaugurated with Ortega and Murillo a modern CABEI headquarters in Managua, valued at 16.5 million dollars. The bank president often promotes the relationship with the Sandinista administration as a model to follow. However, when questioned about the loans to a government accused of committing crimes against humanity by a group of United Nations experts, Mossi has always argued “that CABEI is not a human rights organization.”

“This shows how CABEI helps provide compensation that Ortega takes advantage of to finance his repressive apparatus. For this reason, the Executive President of CABEI, Dante Mossi, has earned the nickname of “dictator’s banker.” Mossi has justified his loans to the Ortega-Murillo regime by hiding behind technicalities, ”says Berg.

A group of Nicaraguan opposition organizations sent the governors a statement against Mossi’s re-election and affirm that they are “alarmed to see the way in which Dante Mossi, current CABEI president, legitimizes without any astonishment the actions of the dictatorship and maintains an attitude constant denial of the situation of human rights violations in the country, dismissing the sustained complaints and the clear illegitimacy of a dictatorship”.

Meanwhile, in Honduras, the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) accused Mossi of being “responsible for directing the actions related to CABEI’s financing of the Agua Zarca Project of the Atala Zablah family, for which they murdered our companera Berta Caceres, for the benefit of certain economic groups and to the detriment of the rights of the victims of violence and indigenous communities”.

Juanita Goebertus, director of the Americas Division of Human Rights Watch, called for existing loans to El Salvador’s Police, Defense Ministry, Prosecutor’s Office, and prison system to be suspended until concrete safeguards are established to prevent these funds from being used. to commit human rights violations within the framework of the exceptional regime of Nayib Bukele.

“A bad manager”

“Mossi, as president of CABEI and responsible for its administrative management, doubled the spending budget in four years, from 70.1 million dollars in 2018 to 146.4 million in 2022,” warns Trejos Lalli. “During his administration, there have been ostentatious contracting of new buildings and remodeling of offices in Tegucigalpa and acquisitions of new offices in Argentina, Taiwan, Spain, Korea and the Dominican Republic, just when all signs indicated to do otherwise. In addition, the payroll increased by 30% compared to 2018, and reached more than 450″.

Juan Sebastian Chamorro, an economist and political prisoner exiled by the Ortega and Murillo regime, told EL PAIS that “any bank” should fire Mossi for his administrative management, without “the need to add political considerations.” “Administrative expenses increased by 30%, total expenses doubled, profitability dropped, profits fell from 223 million to 84 million… Clearly, for purely efficiency and technical reasons, that manager should leave,” he said.

Transparency in question

On the other hand, in November 2021, Otton Solis Fallas, another representative that Costa Rica had at CABEI, revealed “abuses” at the top of the entity. He denounced that the directors “appointed by hand” enjoy salaries of $11,449 per month, to which are added bonuses which raise the income by almost 65% exempt from all taxes.

According to researcher Berg, Mossi is described as a provincial fiefdom ruler, who runs the bank to suit his personal interests and benefit those close to him, while eroding important internal checks and balances. Transparency, especially in the management of funds by governments, is another of the most questioned flanks.

Berg recalls in his article that when the bank’s Board of Directors decided to impose greater transparency, ordering an internal audit of expenses and demanding more information, Mossi threatened to resign, “endangering the privileges enjoyed by many in the bank under his leadership.” “Mossi’s leadership style has gotten CABEI into trouble for its financing of a bioclimate project in Nicaragua that contributes to violence and the lack of prior consent with indigenous communities,” he lists.

So, the CABEI governors will have the last word on Mossi’s permanence or not in office. Although the outlook for his critics is not encouraging, since countries like Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras collude to grant each other loans. “In there there are tacit alliances that make it more difficult to block financing. The Bukele government, the previous one that existed in Honduras, and the Ortega government have terrible alliances,” warned Otton Solis in November 2021.

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