Franco and Rajoy meet to discuss Ibero-American summit non-invitation to Paraguay
Paraguayan president Federico Franco and Spain’s Mariano Rajoy are scheduled to meet on Tuesday at the United Nations building to talk about bilateral issues and the coming Ibero-American summit in Cadiz, next November 16/17 which has become a highly controversial issue.
Spain has contacted Paraguay directly and indirectly with strong suggestions that President Franco should not attend Cadiz, because this would cause the absence of several other Mercosur leaders, and given the current Spanish situation it is crucial for the Rajoy government that the coming summit is a success.
And success is not necessarily measured by content but “by the number of attendants”, the Spanish government has strongly suggested to Paraguay. The previous summit was considered a failure because eleven leaders missed the event and the Spanish king had to share the ‘family’ photo with the ‘light weights’, which was not a positive message on Madrid’s influence in the region to the rest of EU members.
Paraguayan authorities claim there is a Mercosur conspiracy, a “systemic persecution” to have Paraguay not invited to the summit in Spain since the country was suspended from the trade group last June following the removal of Fernando Lugo from the Executive and replaced by his then Vice president Federico Franco, which Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay described as a rupture of the ‘democratic system’.
Nevertheless in an interview on the issue with the Spanish government news agency EFE, President Franco advanced he would not be attending where he has not been invited and since the Spanish Foreign Minister Garcia Margallo has already announced Paraguay will not be invited, “I think this in an issue to be addressed by the head of state and the Spanish head of government”.
Franco said that “our mother land should have a more supportive attitude towards us: we haven’t nationalized any Spanish corporation, no Spanish interest in Paraguay has been blocked and on the contrary we have received them with a red carpet”.
On the conflict with Mercosur, Franco said that Paraguay has not only suffered snubs from its neighbours but also wars, “but we are a stoic people. When we became independent from Spain we needed no foreign liberator, no San Martin, no Bolívar, no Sucre, nobody, we worked it out among us Paraguayans without shedding blood. We are a peaceful people but we have our dignity and demand respect for our sovereignty”.
Franco praised the OAS (Organization of American States) because it did not find arguments to sanction Paraguay. “They have a democratic reminiscence and callisthenics in these kinds of situations and understood that what happened in Paraguay was a change of government absolutely in the constitutional framework. The OAS decision was wise and we respect that, and value it, and we are not only asking they should be present next year when the April election, but also to monitor the electoral process all the way to the moment the ballot results are announced”.
Asked about observers from the European Union and Unasur, Franco said the EU was welcome, “but we are not so sure about Unasur. They sanctioned us with no good reason, it’s the same whether they come or they don’t. But yes we are concerned about Mercosur, this is a priority for us”.
Franco said that any Mercosur delegation is most welcome and “we want good relations. Problems are not with the peoples of Mercosur members, it’s with their governments. We only want professional, respectful relations that consider our sovereignty with the same dignity we have towards other peoples’ sovereignty”.