The Biden administration announced last month it will make 20 million Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses available to the international community, on top of the 60 million unused Astra-Zeneca doses announced in April. The doses have not yet been committed to a specific list of countries.
As the pandemic continues to ravage multiple countries in the region, Latin America and the Caribbean already account for approximately one third of the total COVID-19 global death toll.
Rubio is backing the “Inter-American Development Bank General Capital Increase Act” from U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-NJ. The proposal would increase American funds for the IDB by $20 billion. The IDB is run by almost 50 counties, including the U.S., and is the largest source of support for Latin American and Caribbean economic development. Other backers of the bill include U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Rubio’s office noted that the bill “would strengthen economic competitiveness, expand safeguards for physical and digital infrastructure, and address human rights abuses from digital surveillance technologies in Latin America and the Caribbean" and is “the first comprehensive effort to improve U.S. economic engagement and diplomatic presence, and address the Government of China’s economic, political, security, and intelligence activities in the region.”
The proposal would extend the current agreement--which has been in place for almost two decades until 2030.