Eleven leaders missed the previous 2011 Ibero-American summit in Paraguay
As Spain doubles efforts to ensure full attendance to the coming Ibero-American summit in Cadiz, next 16/17 November diplomatic sources recalled what happened in the previous event which took place in Asuncion, with Fernando Lugo president and which was considered a failure since eleven leaders missed the event including Mercosur full members, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Then president Lugo host of the XXI Ibero-American summit, October 2011, was exposed to the “vacuum” from its peers and ideological ‘comrades’ from Mercosur, plus Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, and the secretary of the organization, veteran diplomat and international bureaucrat Enrique Iglesias, almost lost his job following the complaints from King Juan Carlos.
Spain which is hosting the summit in Cadiz has suggested it would like President Federico Franco, from Paraguay, which has been suspended from Mercosur, to remain absent from the event as his attendance could trigger reactions from Argentina, Venezuela and Uruguay, among others.
The situation was pointed out by Spanish Foreign minister Jose Manuel García-Margallo during a press conference on the coming summit held in Lima, Peru. Spain has pending trade and investment issues with Argentina which it wants to address with Cristina Fernandez when she visits Cadiz.
Likewise the Paraguayan media recalls that when Lugo was president and host of the summit in October 2011, Venezuelan Hugo Chavez, because of medical reasons, stayed away; Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez said it was a year of the death of her husband, Nestor Kirchner, and was still in mourning; Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff alleged she was busy preparing for the G-20 summit and Uruguay’s Jose Mujica sent his Vice-president Danilo Astori.
A total of eleven leaders of the 22 which make up the Ibero-America summit were absent from Paraguay including Juan Manuel Santos (Colombia), Laura Chinchilla (Costa Rica), Raúl Castro (Cuba), Mauricio Funes (El Salvador), Porfirio Lobo (Honduras), Daniel Ortega (Nicaragua) and Leonel Fernández (Dominican Republic).
At the time Lugo was having trouble with his Mercosur partners because he was unable to convince the Paraguayan congress to approve the incorporation of Venezuela as full member of the group.
Besides there were trade conflicts with Argentina; disputes with Brazil over payments for power from the giant Itaipú hydroelectric dam, and President Mujica did not want to offend the senior members of Mercosur. Besides the Socialist government of Spain was on its way out and overall enthusiasm about such events was as it lowest.
The Spanish press furious that the King had become a laughing stock in Latin America said failure responded directly to “an unconvincing Spanish foreign policy, the way the Ibero-American group secretariat is managed or its penchant for bureaucracy full of good intentions, ad infinitum rhetoric and no follow up of the pompous cooperation programs which many times compete directly with bilateral or multilateral Spanish cooperation”.