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.
More than 20 countries confirmed that representatives from their governments will attend the inauguration of Chilean president-elect Michelle Bachelet on Tuesday, Chilean Senate leader Jorge Pizarro announced. Leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay, Belgium, Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela, Colombia, Haiti, Suriname and El Salvador have confirmed their presence.
The Mercosur summit is still scheduled for March but given the current situation in Venezuela, host of the event, there could be another delay admitted Paraguay's Foreign minister Eladio Loizaga, who added that there are permanent contacts between members countries to try and avoid another scenario.
In early March Mercosur will have readied its proposal to liberate trade to be presented to the European Union, the basis for a wide-ranging cooperation and trade agreement between the two blocks, announced Rubens Barbosa, head of the Trade Council from the Sao Paulo State Industries Federation, FIESP.
The much delayed Mercosur summit, originally scheduled for last December could take place in March, according to Paraguay's foreign minister Eladio Loizaga who this week visited his Venezuelan peer Elías Jaua. Venezuela currently holds the Mercosur rotating chair and will be hosting the event when (and if) it finally takes place.
Mercosur summit delays and oil are two of the main issues the Paraguayan foreign minister Eladio Loizaga will address with his Venezuelan peer Elias Jaua, when he travels on Thursday to Caracas. Formally the event is a diplomatic reciprocity for Jaua's visit to Paraguay last 9 October, when the two countries re-established full relations.
Paraguay has instructed its ambassador in Buenos Aires to collect information on Argentina's plans to set up an uranium processing plant in the northern province of Formosa, neighboring with the land-locked country.
Uruguay and Brazil could be prepared to go ahead with a 'two speed' trade negotiations between Mercosur and the European Union if the Argentine tariff proposal is not as ambitious as that from the rest of its members, according to Uruguayan diplomatic sources.
Mercosur pretends to increase its trade integration with members from the Pacific Alliance, said Brazilian foreign minister Luiz Alberto Figuereido. The top official made the statement this week before the Brazilian Senate foreign affairs committee.