Paraguay has a new Foreign Affaire minister, Jorge Lara Castro who until now was Deputy to Hector Lacognata and who had presented his resignation three weeks ago.
“Not even dressed as Father Christmas can president Hugo Chavez make Venezuela become a member of Mercosur”, according to a 2009 Wikileaks cable quoting Paraguay’s Foreign Affairs minister Hector Lacognata during an informal talk with US ambassador in Asuncion Liliana Ayalde.
Uruguayan investors have purchased an estimated 1.1 million hectares in the Paraguayan Chaco, (heartland of landlocked Paraguay) in spite of the fact land prices have quadrupled in the last two years. The record year was 2010 with 200.000 hectares.
The Paraguayan government announced Thursday it will insist with the Congressional approval of Venezuela’s incorporation to Mercosur, which remains stalled at the country’s Legislative branch.
Paraguay overtook Argentina as beef exporter in 2010 confirming the country’s loss of leadership in the world’s meat markets, according to reports in the Argentine and Paraguayan media.
Paraguay expressed deep concern about “Brazilian dominance” in South America, reveals a diplomatic cable exposed by Wikileaks and reproduced this week by the Brazilian portal ‘Opera Mundi’.
The Paraguayan government is working with Congress to agree on budget cuts and possible tax increases, (levies on beef and soybean exports) that should help balance 2011 expenditure and revenue.
European Union Trade commissioner Karel de Gutch said Monday he strongly believes the EU will reach a trade agreement with Mercosur because “this is the moment” and both sides are committed to conclude negotiations positively.
The Paraguayan political system is willing to consider the incorporation of Venezuela to Mercosur as a full member if there is a “significant gesture or compensation” from the government of President Hugo Chavez, according to congressional sources in Asunción.
Paraguay recovered full status of “country free of foot and mouth disease with vaccination” following the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) decision to lift the “high vigilance zone” over 1.2 million cattle.