I have noted the reports that Mario Vazquez Rana influenced the outcome of the vote for the site of the 2015 Pan Am Games. I question that. The Caribbean, for once voting as a block, were mainly responsible for the Toronto win, and Sr. Vasquez has little if any influence over the Caribbean.
The CANOC block is good for 26 votes that includes two each from Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. I am fairly certain that a minimum of 23 votes and a maximum of 25 came from CANOC. Canada and the USA contributed four, and I think Vazquez Rana did influence Mexico to vote for Toronto with 2 votes–that’s 29 votes. This leaves only four votes from Spanish speaking countries.
Mario Vazquez Rana’s good friend, Carlos Nuzman of Brazil, said he was voting for Lima for the same reasons that Rio won the 2016 Games. Vazquez Rana would have played a key role in Rio’s success, but yet he was unable to influence Brazil.
Gifts were a minor motivator in the decision. Toronto stared wooing the Caribbean at our 2009 Assembly in Curacao, where neither Lima nor Bogotá showed up. The plain fact is that Toronto had a superior bid, and Lima started their campaign far too late.
Bogotá’s poor showing in my view was due to three things. The fact that the Colombian NOC threw out the popular Andres Botero who was the front man for their bid was one. He became bitter and was virtually hands off. Then they brought him back too late. Lima broke the PASO rule and invited a number of countries to Peru and gave the delegates a great time and a number felt indebted. Thirdly there was the sympathy vote that worked for Rio 2016.
For the first time the Caribbean demonstrated that we can be a formidable voice in the PASO region if we work together. This is a strategy a position I have been working to motivate on for a long time.
Steve Stoute is the Chairman of Caribbean Association of National Olympic Committees, and President of the Barbados Olympic Association.
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