The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) has officially recognized the Venezuelan representative designated by opposition leader Juan Guaido, the first multilateral institution to take such an action.
The bank is Latin Americas largest regional lender, and the move is a major setback for President Nicolas Maduro. The action could eventually free up development lending to Venezuela if Maduro were to step down.
Guaido has been recognized as Venezuelas legitimate leader by most Western countries, including the United States as well as many Latin American nations.
He named Harvard University economist Ricardo Hausmann, an exiled former Venezuelan government minister, as his representative to the IADB, forcing a vote by the lenders 48-member board of governors.
The bank said in a press release that its decision to recognize Hausmann was effective immediately. It said that a sufficient number of members had voted to meet the requirements of quorum and favorable votes for a decision.
In another development Friday, American Airlines said it has temporarily suspended its operations into Caracas and Maracaibo, citing safely concerns in Venezuela.
The safety and security of our team members and customers is always No. 1 and American will not operate to countries we dont consider safe, the airlines said in a statement.
The decision comes after the U.S. State Department this week issued a travel advisory urging Americans to avoid Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens.