The head of the Unasur High Level Group for Paraguay, former Peruvian Prime Minister Salomon Lerner is currently in the country where he arrived as a simple tourist with plans to meet local political leaders, members of the country’s Electoral Tribunal and get a feeling of the atmosphere in the run to presidential elections next April 2013.
“It’s an non-official visit; that is all” said Lerner who was supposed to come with a full Unasur delegation to collect data in situ of Paraguay’s political situation since the country was suspended both from Unasur and Mercosur.
Allegedly Paraguayan authorities were prepared to give the delegation a red carpet welcome but only demanded a gesture from Unasur regarding the controversial suspension, which did not happen and thus the visit became non official and was limited to the president of the high level group.
Paraguay was suspended from the two regional organizations last June following the removal from the Executive of Fernando Lugo, who was impeached by the Senate for ‘incompetence’ and almost unanimously ousted. However Mercosur and Unasur declared that there had been “a rupture of democratic order” and suspended Paraguay until the April 2013 presidential election.
Lerner has several meetings scheduled with political leaders, particularly from the ousted Lugo grouping and later with the Superior Electoral Tribunal responsible for the organization of next year’s election. The Peruvian diplomat is also expected on his return to Lima to write a report on his findings which will be delivered to the Unasur heads of state meeting in Lima at the end of the month.
Paraguay is quite upset with Unasur not only because of the suspension but because its lawmakers were barred from participating in the Parlasur (Mercosur Parliament) sessions in Montevideo and last week the Paraguayan delegation attending the meeting of Ministers from the Latinamerican Energy Organization, Olade, in Lima was expulsed and impeded from attending.
“I wasn’t present; I was not in Peru at the time, so I don’t know the details”, said the Unasur delegate when asked about the incident.