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Cartes declines invitation from Rousseff to attend Pope Francis Sunday mass in Rio

Saturday, July 27th 2013 - 20:21 UTC
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Paraguay is well represented with 5.000 youth in Rio, according to Cartes spokesperson on foreign affairs Paraguay is well represented with 5.000 youth in Rio, according to Cartes spokesperson on foreign affairs

Paraguayan president-elect Horacio Cartes declined a personal invitation from his peer Dilma Rousseff to attend Francis mass on Sunday in Rio do Janeiro, the closing event of the pope’s visit to Brazil, according to one of his top foreign policy advisors.

“The president-elected is most grateful for the invitation from President Rousseff but regrets it will not be possible for him to be present since he is president-elect and only takes office next August 15”, said Eladio Loizaga.

He added that Cartes really appreciates the gesture from the Brazilian head of state but recalled that over 5.000 young Paraguayans are already in Rio do Janeiro participating in the World Youth Day and thus “Paraguay is more than well represented”.

Pope Francis will be heading on Sunday in Copacabana beach the mass that marks the conclusion of the youth event that has mobilized millions in Brazil and tens of thousands from overseas. In this Francis final event over two million people are expected.

So far two Latam presidents, Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez and Chile’s Sebastián Piñera have confirmed their assistance to the Sunday event. President Rousseff extended an invitation to all of the region’s leaders.

Paraguay which remains formally suspended from Mercosur has adopted a strong position demanding that before returning there must be a clear signal from Mercosur of respect for Paraguay’s dignity, rule of the law and the group’s institutions.

Paraguay argues that the June 2012 suspension is ‘illegal’ and ‘illegitimate’ because it ignored the country’s constitutional process when former president Fernando Lugo was removed from office by the Senate impeachment and replaced by Federico Franco who will be handing the office to Cartes on August 15.

Furthermore Asuncion claims that Venezuela’s incorporation to Mercosur was decided when Paraguay was suspended thus violating the group’s charter and Paraguay’s Senate negative vote.

During the last Mercosur summit in Montevideo earlier this month, it was decided to lift the suspension pending on Paraguay but effective 15 August and Brazilian Foreign minister Antonio Patriota brushed aside all comments from Cartes regarding the suspension, saying he “will listen to them when he (Cartes) is inaugurated”.

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  • Baxter

    The invitation was a surprise since , at the last Mercosur meet , it was made clear by Patriota that Cartes would only be listened too after 15 th August . So the regrets should surprise nobody , after all we are still in July and Cartes , according to Patriota , does not exist . Added to which the current President is Franco . As I have often said the Brazilian diplomacy is in free fall .

    Jul 27th, 2013 - 08:44 pm 0
  • ChrisR

    1 Baxter

    So I wonder why Dilma did not send the invitation to President Franco?

    She couldn't, could she, after all the trouble that she, TMBOA and Demented Pepe caused to Paraguay, be thinking that President Elect Cartes IS the President?

    I think the current problems with the economy of Brazil must be affecting her mind.

    Jul 27th, 2013 - 08:58 pm 0
  • Baxter

    2 Good question . I suspect that Franco was not invited since he does not exist .
    Paraguay is in a funny position now . The current president does not exist , that is only for Mercosur of course , and the new one will only appear as a human on 15th August . As you can imagine the Paraguayans are confused ! They see on TV the president meeting ambassadors from all over the world , less Mercosur , but they are told that he does not exist .All very worrying , not to say absurd .

    Jul 27th, 2013 - 09:19 pm 0
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