Mercosur ‘suspended’ Paraguay feels free to establish trade links with other countries
President Federico Franco announced in a press conference that if Paraguay is suspended from Mercosur the country will feel free to look for other trade agreements and international relations.
“Once suspended Paraguay is free to take its own decisions; we are going to balance costs and benefits, and we will decide what is best for Paraguay’s interests”, said Franco when asked about the possibility of establishing trade links with the US, China and other economic spaces.
“This means the end of the tutelage from neighbouring countries”, he added in direct reference to Argentina and Brazil and insisted that his administration’s message to the international community is that Paraguay has always been “a free and independent country”.
Following the ceremony when he took the oath to the new Vice president Senator Oscar Denis, Franco reiterated that he will step down from office 15 August 2013, handing the office to whoever is chosen by the Paraguayan people in free and democratic elections 23 April 2013. “My mission and legacy will be to put the house in order and deliver a country with governance and stability”.
Franco was sworn in as president following the impeachment of his predecessor Fernando Lugo by an overwhelming vote in the Senate for “ill-performance of his duties as president”.
His swift removal in an impeachment process has been seriously questioned in the region because of it took less than 30 hours, Lugo’s defence was limited and it was described as a “summary trial”.