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Press release
CADTM indignant at the U.S. nomination of Paul Wolfowitz to lead the World Bank
17 March 2005

George W. Bush has just announced his choice of Paul Wolfowitz, no. 2 at the Pentagon and a staunch supporter of the illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003, as the next president of the World Bank.

CADTM is indignant that this particularly anti-democratic procedure is still in force at a time when good governance is at the heart of the recommendations of these institutions. A case of “Do as I say, not as I do”! Not to mention that the current president, James Wolfensohn, a New York banker but an Australian by birth, had to take out United States citizenship before being nominated in 1995.

CADTM is also indignant that World Bank leadership systematically goes to major names in banking or to former officers of the U.S. Defense Department, as was the case with the 1968 nomination of Robert McNamara, chief architect of the Vietnam war, and who used the World Bank as an effective geopolitical tool to serve the United States’ strategic allies.

It is clear that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are still operating as if they were simply instruments in the service of the major Western powers (United States, Canada, Western Europe), the financial markets and trans-national corporations.

CADTM calls on the European administrators to block this unacceptable decision, as the United States dared to do in 2000 concerning an IMF nomination. Following the resignation of French Managing Director Michel Camdessus, the nomination of Caio Koch-Weser, then State Secretary at the German Ministry of Finance and European IMF candidate, was vetoed by the United States, after which the Europeans agreed on the choice of Horst Köhler.

It’s our belief, however, that they will not be blocking this nomination, being only too satisfied with the sharing of roles and the fact that they managed to nominate Spanish candidate Rodrigo Rato to lead the IMF in 2004! Yet how to explain that the presidency of the World Bank has never gone to a citizen of the Third World, in a front-line position when it comes to the challenges of human development?

One is justified in wondering if these institutions are capable of reform. Thereby posing the question of their legitimacy. For the CADTM, alternative international financial institutions are not only possible ... but urgently needed!