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Paraguayan president calls for moderation from the Senate on the Venezuela issue

Wednesday, August 15th 2012 - 09:10 UTC
Full article 6 comments
The Franco administration is waiting for the OAS position  The Franco administration is waiting for the OAS position

Paraguayan president Federico Franco called for moderation and time from members of Congress when they begin considering Venezuela’s request to become a full member of Mercosur, since the issue needs of “a good in depth analysis and no hasty decision”.

Foreign minister Jose Fernandez Estigarribia has been meeting with lawmakers to brief them on the issue and negotiations, if any, since Paraguay was suspended from Mercosur and the three remaining full members (Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay) agreed to include Venezuela as the fifth full member.

Until then the Paraguayan congress was the only legislative branch refusing to accept the inclusion of Venezuela, a major decision that should have been adopted by consensus. In retaliation for the suspension of the country from Mercosur and the incorporation of Venezuela, the Paraguayan Senate has wanted to vote on the issue and thus make public its rejection.

However this decision could further complicate the very delicate situation between suspended Paraguay and the rest of Mercosur members. Landlocked Paraguay and its economy are highly dependent on its two large neighbours. On the other hand Paraguay’s suspension is until the next general election scheduled for April 2013.

“It is an issue which merits a good analysis, does not demand a hasty decision” said President Franco, making clear that the country’s position regarding the inclusion of Venezuela as full member of Mercosur “should be delayed”.

Minister Fernandez Estigarribia discussed the issue with members for the Foreign Affairs committees, which will then decide what steps to follow.

Paraguayan political analyst Enrique Vargas Peña said that the Franco administration has three possible options: delay indefinitely the discussion of the Venezuelan adhesion protocol; approve it or reject it.

Delaying a decision means Paraguay remains in the current “status quo” imposed by Mercosur until next April.

“This is the situation Brazil wants because it avoids Paraguay’s juridical rejection of the violation of treaties, agreements and protocols committed by Mercosur to comply with the incorporation of Venezuela”, said the analyst.

If Paraguay does not explicitly challenge the violations, “these will consolidate with time and the hegemonic status of Brazil is confirmed with a tacit acknowledgement”. Vargas Peña added that those in Paraguay that support Mercosur (despite the rule of the law does not exist any longer in the group) “are doing their utmost to support the delay in addressing the protocol and thus favouring Brazil”.

But warned the analyst, there are no guarantees that during the ‘delay’ Mercosur does not continue to approve rules that could have a decisive impact on Paraguay, “for example the protocols that ensure equal juridical rights for all the members of the group”.

On the other hand approval of Mercosur’ Venezuela adhesion protocol is useless because Brazil has already imposed Venezuela on the block and therefore this option “does not defend Paraguayan rights in the block”.

But rejecting the protocol would send the following signal: Paraguay does not and will never accept a Mercosur outside the rule of the law; Paraguay will never accept to be treated as an unequal or second rate member in any block and finally Mercosur with no rule of the law is not reliable for nobody, not in Europe or in the world”.

However a Senator from the ruling coalition said that Paraguay should wait until the Organization of American States makes a decision on the issue of the political impeachment and removal of Fernando Lugo from the presidency which triggered the current situation.

The OAS is scheduled to debate the Paraguayan case next August 22. OAS is divided on sanctions to Paraguay, contrary to the positions of Mercosur and Unasur that had no qualms in condemning the administration of President Federico Franco.

“The government must elaborate a diplomatic strategy on the issue of Venezuela’s incorporation to Mercosur, which is the second most important and serious decision from the block after the suspension of Paraguay’s political rights inside Mercosur”, said Senator Marcelo Duarte.

Top Comments

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  • Conqueror

    What about the good old-fashioned way of standing by your principles?
    Simple approaches with simple results.
    1. Stand by principles and declare that Venezuela's admission is illegitimate. Brazil, argieland and chavcountry will all be upset. But Paraguay will have shown that it can and will apply the law.
    2. Agree that Venezuela has been admitted. Thereby showing Brazil and argieland that they can do anything they want. It will also show Chavez that he can do anything he wants. Paraguay will be relegated to the lowest of three categories. At the top, argieland, Brazil and Venezuela will make all the decisions. In second place, Uruguay will be listened to occasionally. At the bottom, Paraguay will do as it's told!
    3. Delay. It has to be said. This is the coward's way. Wait and hope that there is a miracle. But there won't be a miracle. Even the Second Coming wouldn't be enough.
    Paraguay has to show that it won't be bullied, forced, frightened or threatened. It has to maintain it's position that it refuses to agree the admission of Venezuela. It should put up an unmistakeable statement by taking its case to the ICJ. Could it ask the ICJ to make a ruling that the admission of Venezuela whilst Paraguay is suspended must itself be put on hold. The “danger” is that such a ruling would simply be ignored. But perhaps the ICJ could declare “mercosur” to be illegitimate. That should cramp it's style!

    Aug 15th, 2012 - 10:07 am 0
  • Guzz

    Afterwards the Paraguayans are to vote for UK's next PM... The results of both election are then carefully studied before being alphabetically catalogized in the paper bin...

    Aug 15th, 2012 - 12:37 pm 0
  • BAMF Paraguay

    Guzz, your comment makes no sense. How does your mind come to writing a comment like “Afterwards the Paraguayans are to vote for UK's next PM”???

    Paraguay should simply refuse to acknowledge that Venezuela is part of the trade bloc should the Senate decide to reject Venezuela's admission into Mercosur. Treat Venezuela like any other country that is out of the trade bloc with the same tariffs, etc. No need to make a big deal of the whole thing, Hugo Chavez and his random rants aren't worth the time.

    Aug 15th, 2012 - 02:36 pm 0
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