The Inter-American Development Bank on Friday officially recognized the representative named by Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaido, the first multilateral institution to take that step.
Self-proclaimed interim president Guaido named respected Harvard economist Ricardo Hausmann, an exiled former Venezuelan government minister, to represent him at the IDB -- the primary source of financing for development projects in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The IDB board of governors "today approved a resolution recognizing the appointment by Mr Juan Guaido of Ricardo Hausmann as IDB Governor for Venezuela... effective immediately," a statement from the New York-based institution read.
It is the latest sign of international support for Guaido, the head of Venezuela's opposition-ruled National Assembly. Guaido has already been backed by more than 50 countries in his bid to unseat President Nicolas Maduro, who has presided over an economy in freefall and a worsening humanitarian crisis.
The United States holds 30 percent of the voting power on the IDB board, against 50 percent combined for Latin American and Caribbean members.
A "sufficient" number of governors have already approved the nomination," even before voting officially closed, the bank said. Guaido's envoy to the United States, Carlos Vecchio, celebrated "an important step into multilateral bodies" and uploaded a photo alongside Hausmann to Twitter.
"It is a first step that is going to allow us to start work on planning and preparation, and obviously the real effectiveness of any financing depends on if Maduro actually leaves," Mariano de Alba, a Venezuelan lawyer and international affairs expert, told AFP.
But the International Monetary Fund, which aims to ensure stability of the global monetary system, has said it is awaiting a decision of its members before recognizing Guaido rather than Maduro.
Hausmann served as IDB chief economist from 1994 to 2000, and was Venezuela's planning minister when the government implemented a major economic reform package, which was the focus of a coup attempt in 1992 led by Hugo Chavez, who was jailed but later elected president.