The new Paraguayan government claimed before the Organization of American States, OAS, that Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay are again involved in a “Triple Alliance” to have the country ousted from the inter-American organization as is happening with Mercosur and Unasur.
“OAS does not depend from Unasur or Mercosur. We belong to OAS and OAS does not have to wait for the decision of other regional organizations, which we already know the answer”, said Paraguayan ambassador Hugo Saguier during a heated debate at the OAS headquarters in Washington.
The ambassador also criticized the existence of a document making the round of South American Foreign ministries which expels Paraguay from Unasur and Mercosur, and is not limited to a “suspension” as was stated and if this proves to be the case, “Paraguay has not been given the chance to expose its case or appeal”.
But Saguier emphasized “this is being coordinated by Mercosur, and if you want to do it, go ahead”. Paraguay will have no problem in withdrawing from regional blocks, “90% of the Paraguayan population would abandon Mercosur if they were given the option”.
However Saguier’s claims went further and by mentioning the “Triple Alliance” recalled one of the region’s greatest bloodbath and extermination attempts. In effect during the triple alliance war from 1865 to 1870, virtually the whole male population of Paraguay between the age of 12 and 60 was slaughtered by the occupying armies of Argentina and Brazil (Uruguay left when military actions were over).
So serious was the decimation that the Brazilian army remained in the country for a few years not only as an occupation force but also because of the need to rebuild the local population.
“If you want to make up another Triple Alliance…it won’t be the first time” claimed Ambassador Saguier.
The Brazilian delegation position has been to wait decisions from Mercosur and Unasur and said it was unnecessary to recall the Triple Alliance. Argentina said it would remain pro-active in the case.
OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza said he would be sending a mission to Paraguay to assess the situation following the removal of Fernando Lugo and his replacement by Vice-president Federico Franco.
Insulza made the announcement following a long and heated extraordinary meeting of OAS in Washington in which finally the 34 members could not agree a consensus on how to address the Paraguayan political situation.
“It is my duty to collect all the possible information on the situation so the Council can adopt a decision” said Insulza who will be heading the delegation to Paraguay. He added that the mission will be meeting with removed president Lugo, members of Congress and probably visit other countries of the region.
“We should be back sometime next week hopefully with the sufficient information so the Council can decide”, said Insulza who admitted OAS does not have the power to intervene in the situation. “The most we can do is try and bring both sides together and hopefully they can reach some kind of understanding”.
However “it won’t be easy to find a solution “when we events have already happened” but the 2013 elections can be “a hopeful outcome”.
“We have a conflict and the best is to try and find ways that the conflict begins to calm down and things return to normal until elections are held so that we can anticipate a democratic and constitutional exit to the crisis”.
The last time OAS adopted strong measures given a constitutional crisis was back in 2009 when it suspended Honduras following a coup that forcibly removed President Manuel Zelaya. Honduras was readmitted in June 2011
The Union of South American Nations and Mercosur have scheduled presidential summits for Thursday/Friday in Mendoza, Argentina when the Paraguayan situation will be addressed.