An influential member of Congress from south Brazil strongly criticized his country’s foreign policy towards Paraguay and Mercosur condemning the ‘unnecessary hostility’ and for abandoning legitimate interests and basic principles for an ‘ideological affinity solidarity’.
“Relations with Paraguay are of extreme importance for the residents of the state of Parana, (neighbouring with Paraguay)” said lawmaker Eduardo Sciarra in a speech before the House where he blasted the government for having abandoned “the internationally respected and secular tradition” of Brazilian diplomacy, compliance with the people’s right to self determination and ignoring the legitimate interests of Brazil.
“For Brazil’s interests it is essential the immediate incorporation of Paraguay to Mercosur: too many trade, economic and energy links are at stake, and the extreme hostility displayed, lack of understanding and arrogance displayed by the Brazilian government in all this mess, has tarnished Brazil’s prestige and upset Paraguayan public opinion feeling towards Brazil”, said Sciarra who represents the agriculture state of Parana in the federal congress.
“It was not correct or in Brazilian diplomacy tradition to put pressure on Paraguay, challenging that country’s institutions and rule of the law and pretending to interpret their constitution. It is most interesting to remember that removed president Fernando Lugo accepted the decision from the Paraguayan Senate to impeach him and vote him out”, said Sciarra recalling June 2012 events when Lugo was replaced by current President Federico Franco.
Likewise the political suspension of Paraguay from Mercosur was “an act of unnecessary hostility” which further complicated the “highly sensitive relation of Brazil with Paraguay”, and also triggered ‘political resentment on admitting Venezuela to Mercosur as full member despite the fact that Paraguay was against such a move’, said lawmaker Sciarra.
“To take advantage of the suspension of Paraguay from Mercosur and have Venezuela come in by the back window is not a praise-worthy attitude of the countries that make up Mercosur, much less of Brazilian diplomacy”.
“Paraguayans can’t forget that Venezuela tried a military intervention in the June 2012 events, which thankfully was frustrated, in support of the legitimately removed Lugo”, underlined Sciarra.
He insisted “Paraguay is vital for Brazil” recalling that Itaipu, the world’s largest operational hydroelectric dam is shared with Paraguay and supplies almost 25% of the electricity consumed in Brazil. “They only make use of 5% of the 50% output which belongs to them and we take the rest. The Itaipu surplus energy production rules the price of our energy costs”.
Furthermore Sciarra pointed out to the 400.000 Brazilian farmers that plant soy and grains in Paraguay and the very close trade relations because of the border circumstances.
“Last year we exported 2.6 billion dollars to Paraguay and they partially compensated with 988 million dollars, which is clearly a very favourable relation for our business people and industry, let’s not spoil this privileged situation”.
Finally Sciarra warned that as the main trade partner of Paraguay in South America “if we continue along this ‘ideological affinity’ policy track, we will end paying the consequences of those decisions and damaging the strategic interests of Brazil in the region. And when that happens we will have experienced a major democratic loss”.