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.
Paraguay is waiting for the formality of a Wednesday vote in the Lower House floor to acknowledge the controversial incorporation of Venezuela as full member of Mercosur, putting an end to an 18 months political and diplomatic rift in the block. The Deputies' Constitution Affairs and Foreign Affairs committees on Tuesday afternoon approved Venezuela's Mercosur incorporation protocol, which means all is ready for the full house expected positive vote.
Paraguayan president Horacio Cartes will not be participating in the Mercosur summit scheduled to be held next month in Caracas, capital of Venezuela, which currently holds the rotating chair of the bloc, according to Paraguay foreign minister Eladio Loizaga.
President Horacio Cartes although admitting he is heart and mind committed to Mercosur, Paraguay's full return to Mercosur is in the hands of diplomacy since as head of state he must abide strictly by the rule of the law.
Venezuela and Paraguay need to re-establish full relations and overcome “all the obstacles that need to be overcome”, said Foreign minister Elías Jaua currently in Asunción, a special guest of his counterpart Eladio Loizaga.
Unasur leaders will welcome Paraguay’s return to the group and will honour the memory of deceased Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez during this week’s summit in Suriname that will be taking the chair of the group from Peru.
Uruguay is closer to joining the Bolivarian alliance for the Americas, (ALBA) than the Pacific Alliance said Uruguayan foreign minister Luis Almagro to a packed audience with government officials, local businesspeople and diplomats. He also argued that the ‘tail wind’ that has been so favourable for Latinamerica ‘was over two years ago”.
Influential Latin American newspapers have been extremely critical of Brazilian diplomacy in its unsuccessful attempts to ‘subdue Paraguay’, while at the same praising the landlocked country’s dignity in demanding from Mercosur respect and compliance with the rule of the law.
Brazil Foreign minister Antonio Patriota said he expects that Paraguay president-elect Horacio Cartes will accept the return to Mercosur following his taking office ceremony scheduled for next August 15.
Paraguay will hold the rotating chair of Mercosur after Venezuela, at the end of this year, which will mark the full active comeback of the country to the regional block, announced Uruguay’s Foreign minister Luis Almagro on Monday in Montevideo.