Thursday, August 15th 2013 - 03:51 UTC

Mercosur controversy, Cartes main challenge when he takes office on Thursday

Most presidents and top authorities that will attend the inauguration of Paraguayan president-elect Horacio Cartes on Thursday morning arrived in Asunción on Wednesday and most of them have already held private meetings with the future leader of the country.

Cartes receives Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff (L) at his residence Wednesday evening

Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff, Chile’s Sebastian Piñera, Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez, the heir to the Spanish throne Felipe Prince of Asturias were among the leaders received by Cartes at his home, according to the incoming president protocol office.

Earlier in the week Taiwan’s president Ma Ying-jeou with a 100-strong delegation arrived in Asunción. Paraguay is one of the few countries that still retain full diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taipei).

Cristina Fernandez on arriving late Wednesday evening in Asunción congratulated the Paraguayan people for the election of “a new president in democratic elections” and announced she was bringing a copy of the decree by which the Argentine government returns to Paraguay furniture belonging to Mariscal Francisco Solano Lopez who ruled in the second half of the XIXth century and is revered as one of the great figures of Paraguayan history.

“This is a historic reparation of a tragic event, the Triple Alliance war (1865/1870) of which we are not proud”, said Cristina Fernandez.

In that war Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay joined to fight and defeat an aggressive Mariscal Solano Lopez, but the conflict turned out into a major slaughter, wiping out most of the Paraguayan male population,

The war, its consequences, Mariscal Solano Lopez, the resistance of the population against the powerful neighbours are very much present for Paraguayans and a source of strong nationalism and pride to our days.

Uruguayan president Jose Mujica is scheduled to arrive 07:30 Thursday morning on time for the ceremony. Peruvian president Ollanta Humala is also expected on early Thursday.

The European Union is represented the Development Commissar Andris Piebalgs.

The big absentees are Ecuador Rafael Correa and Bolivia’s Evo Morales who are not going to Cartes inauguration in solidarity with Venezuela’s Nicolas Maduro, (who also holds the rotating chair of Mercosur), but was not invited.

Horacio Cartes, 57, a successful businessman had no formal experience with politics but was known to belong to the hegemonic Colorado Party that supported him in winning comfortably last April’s presidential election.

His cabinet to be sworn in on Thursday includes experienced officials and technocrats in Foreign Affairs, Finance and the Central bank while the ministry of Interior has been trusted to a former prosecutor from the main opposition party.

Cartes takes off with a working majority in Congress, a considerable budget deficit albeit with the fastest growing economy in the region this year (12%) based on an efficient agriculture but also with a serious political controversy with its neighbours and Mercosur members.

In effect Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur in July last year following the removal of Fernando Lugo and his replacement by President Federico Franco. Although the event was done following the Paraguayan constitution impeachment procedure and with an ample vote in the Senate, --and Lugo’s acceptance of the result--, Mercosur considered the whole affairs a congressional coup and sanctioned Paraguay.

Furthermore Mercosur taking advantage of the situation approved the incorporation of Venezuela as full member, pending from 2006 and rejected by the Paraguayan Senate, even when the charter of the group demands full attendance of all members and unanimous support for such cases.

Mercosur said the suspension would be lifted once a new president is democratically elected, and in the last summit held in Montevideo made it effective as of tomorrow 15 August.

However outgoing President Franco and Cartes have stated that Paraguay is in no rush to return to the group until there is evidence of respect from Mercosur to Paraguay’s dignity, rule of the law, international law and Mercosur institutions.

To make things even more complicated, Mercosur handed the rotating chair to Venezuela for the second half of 2013, which Paraguay does not recognize as legitimate full member.

Thus the non invitation to Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro to the inauguration plus the fact that the former Foreign minister was caught on video in July 2012 trying to convince the Paraguayan armed forces chiefs of staff to send the troops out to the streets in support of former president Fernando Lugo.

The Paraguayan Senate later specifically voted against the incorporation of Venezuela and declared Maduro person non grata for his interference in Paraguay’s internal affairs. Brazil has been pressing insistently on the return of Paraguay to speed negotiations for a trade agreement of Mercosur with the European Union.


13 comments Feed

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1 Anglotino (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 04:21 am Report abuse
Paraguay should market itself as the heart of South America.

Because it definitely has the rest of the continent running around in different degrees of panic and admiration. The centre of attention.
2 GeoffWard2 (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 07:37 am Report abuse
It will be interesting seeing a businessman in charge rather than a politician or an administrator.
We live in hope for this poor little country with not a lot going for it.
3 Conqueror (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 12:25 pm Report abuse
@2 Paraguay has a lot more going for it than you “think”. For a start, Paraguay has the support of virtually every democratic nation. All of whom seem to be disgusted by the dictatorial actions of fascist little mercosur. All Paraguay needs to do is ask.
4 ChrisR (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 01:09 pm Report abuse
2 GeoffWard2

Businessman in charge?

He will have to horse trade with the politicians to get anything done and that may affect him adversely but let us all hope not.
5 Brasileiro (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 05:00 pm Report abuse
A new hope. Objective 1: Mercosul more independent to make individuals deal. Objective 2: Integration with Pacific Alliance. Objective 3: Less politics, more money and “inversiones”. Objective 4: LOVE, LOVE. A new hope!
6 Porto Margaret (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 05:10 pm Report abuse

So what you are actually saying re Objective 3 is: Kick out Argentina.

I can understand and agree.
7 Brasileiro (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 05:24 pm Report abuse
Argentina is very, very, very important. Mercosul needs Argentina. Strong people, strong economie. Bur, the KK in soon will be the past, Argentina is eternal.
8 Anglotino (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 07:12 pm Report abuse
Why would the Pacific Alliance want to integrate with Mercosur?

Colombia, Peru and Chile have associate membership and wouldn't gain anything more. And after watching Mercosur's treatment of Paraguay as well as listening to Brazilians like Brasileiro who think that Brazil should be the continental bully; I don't think that the Pacific Alliance is that silly that they would want to damage their project that badly.

No let Mercosur and the Pacific Alliance go their seperate ways and may the best team win the prosperity.

Sorry Brasileiro, but you are stuck with Argentina and Venezuela and soon you will gain Bolivia. How lucky is Brazil now?
9 Brasileiro (#) Aug 15th, 2013 - 08:15 pm Report abuse
Time friend, time. Ours marketshare is giant. Our population have money to buy anything. So, PA need sell yours products.....i don't know very well whats products....details. But, South America is a baby...hahaha. And we died in eighty years. May be a news generations will be better than us.
10 Anglotino (#) Aug 16th, 2013 - 02:13 am Report abuse
And there is your mistake Brasiliero.

The Pacific Alliance looks outwards to other parts of the world and Brazil doesn't.

As for your giant market share, Brazil's economy isn't much bigger than the current four members of the Pacific Alliance. Considering all PA members have higher growth rates than Brazil, this gap will narrow.

Also the Pacific Alliance have a larger population than Brazil and most have higher birth rates so this gap will grow.
11 cornelius (#) Aug 18th, 2013 - 11:45 am Report abuse
@brasileiro Brazil is pathetic I visit there frequently is corrupt and on his way to be Bolivarian they have the most inefficient economy with 36 different taxes a cumbersome bureaucracy we have a manufacturing plant in brazil and is more expensive to make products in brazil than in the us you are a protectionist and corrupt you will never amount to anything unless you change your ways and that is by not electing ex terrorist incompetent leaders from you foreign minister Patriota a dumb ass with a socialist pathetic brain. One more think they steal energy from Paraguay too.
12 macsilvinho (#) Aug 19th, 2013 - 05:12 pm Report abuse
cornelius I am Brazilian and have to say that you did not pass a complete idea about Brazil. Brazil is much worse than that you write and I congratulate you for your frank and real view of this pathetic country that is going somewhere below African standards...
13 dutchpy (#) Aug 20th, 2013 - 01:42 pm Report abuse
Instead of giving back furniture it would be nicer to give back occupied land.

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