The lower house of Paraguay's Congress has voted overwhelmingly to reject a constitutional amendment that allowed the president to seek re-election. The proposal triggered riots last month, with protesters setting fire to part of the Congress building.
Paraguay's conservative President Horacio Cartes reached out to his opponents Monday for talks after a bid to lift a ban on him seeking re-election sparked deadly riots. His opponents say the constitutional change would raise the risk of a return to dictatorship for a country that transitioned to democracy in 1989 after 35 years of military rule.
President Horacio Cartes fired Paraguay’s interior minister and chief of police on Saturday following the death of a young opposition party leader and violent overnight clashes sparked by a secret Senate vote for a constitutional amendment to allow presidential re-election.
Protesters stormed and set fire to Paraguay's Congress on Friday after the Senate secretly voted for a constitutional amendment that would allow President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election, a change that will also require approval by the Lower House. The country's constitution has prohibited re-election since it was passed in 1992 after a brutal dictatorship fell in 1989.
A Mennonite teenager, Franz Weiber who was abducted last July by Paraguayan Marxist inspired guerrillas in the north of the country was released on Saturday, safe and sound, after the family and friends collected the equivalent of US$ 25.000 in food to distribute among fourteen Indian communities in the area.
One of Venezuelan top opposition leader on Monday launched a tour of Latin American countries to rally support for his side in its bid to remove President Nicolas Maduro from office. Henrique Capriles, a senior figure in the opposition MUD coalition, was in Paraguay, Argentina and planned to move on to Brazil.
Paraguay formally requested on Thursday a meeting of Mercosur foreign ministers to address the situation in Venezuela which is undergoing a critical political, social and economic scenario. The request was presented to Uruguay which currently holds the chair of the trade block made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The presidents of Mercosur member-countries have confirmed attendance to the group's summit scheduled for next 21 December and hosted by Paraguay, the country that currently holds the rotating chair, according to diplomatic sources in Asuncion.
Mercosur is waiting for the European Union to decide when to begin the exchange of tariff-reduction proposals with the purpose of reaching an encompassing trade and cooperation agreement, despite France's objections to the move, said Rigoberto Gauto, Paraguay's deputy foreign minister. Paraguay currently holds the Mercosur chair and leads negotiations with Brussels.
Mercosur is only waiting for the European Union to begin the political negotiations on the long delayed overall trade agreement, announced Paraguay's foreign minister Eladio Loizaga in Asunción, just back from Brussels where he met with EU and Belgian officials.