Floods have killed nine people and driven tens of thousands of people from their homes while swelling rivers to record levels in southern Brazil and neighboring Paraguay and Argentina, authorities said Tuesday.
The Iguazu National Park in Argentina has taken precaution measures and closed access to the Devil's Gorge of the world famous Iguazú falls because of an imminent rise in water levels after the Itaipu and Yacireta dams announced they will be forced to increase the outflow.
The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved the submission of several draft resolutions to the General Assembly of the institution, which will take place from June 3 to 5 in Asunción, Paraguay.
Uruguay Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro said that the political situation in Venezuela makes it quite improbable that the three-times postponed and since delayed Mercosur summit can effectively take place in Caracas sometime in the next two months.
Paraguay has an economy which is complementary to the Pacific Alliance block and has become a very interesting option to increase trade, argued the country's main business organizations, Paraguay's Industrial Union and the Paraguay Rural Association.
Paraguay's foreign minister Eladio Loizaga said that there is no date for the several times suspended Mercosur summit, but a technical meeting is scheduled for next week in Montevideo when the issue, among others will be addressed. Nevertheless he insisted that the different bodies of Mercosur are working normally.
A top Paraguayan official will be travelling to Colombia to establish 'closer links' with the Pacific Alliance and advance with the country's full membership request. Paraguay currently with observer status is also waiting for the official invitation to participate in the Pacific Alliance summit scheduled for 22 June in Mexico.
Argentina's Hector Timerman and Paraguay's Eladio Loizaga will be meeting Monday in Asunción to address among other issues the three times delayed Mercosur summit, which should take place in Venezuela, and must be decided before next June when the group's six-month chair again rotates.
Public life in Paraguay was largely paralyzed on Wednesday by a nationwide strike in demand of higher salaries and against the privatization plans of President Horacio Cartes. Peasants also joined the stoppage and marched on the capital Asunción protesting against the soy-agri-business which is leaving them landless.
United States Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson said Washington is considering increasing cooperation with Paraguay in combating trans-national crime, particularly Brazilian organizations involved in durgs and arms trafficking.