Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff officially confirmed her attendance to the inauguration ceremony of Paraguayan president-elect Horacio Cartes next 15 August, according to the Transmission Committee that is coordinating the event
Other Mercosur presidents have still to confirm but what is certain is that Paraguay has not extended an invitation of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro who is currently pro tempore president of Mercosur.
“Chilean president Sebastián Piñera, Taiwan president Dr Ma Ying-jeou and the Prince of Asturias and heir to the Spanish crown have confirmed their attendance”, said Ambassador Federico Gonzalez, head of the transmission committee.
The Brazilian president together with her Argentine peer Cristina Fernandez proposed and implemented the suspension of Paraguay from Mercosur in June 2012, until the next presidential election, to ‘punish’ Paraguay for having removed following political impeachment (for incompetence in the post) and according to the local constitution, Fernando Lugo, and had him replaced by Federico Franco.
Further more for the Brazilian foreign office the government of President Franco was born out of ‘a coup’ and thus the recalled ambassador never returned to Asuncion following the removal of Lugo. Rousseff also supported the ‘illegitimate’ incorporation of Venezuela as full member of Mercosur without the approval of Paraguay, as dictated by the regional group’s charter.
Her foreign affairs advisor Marco Aurelio Garcia went further and affirmed that the presence of Venezuela in the Mercosur block ‘is an engraved in stone decision’ and Paraguay ‘must accept it’.
Thus given all this background, president Rousseff confirmed her attendance to the ceremony by writing in a letter.
“Argentina’s president Cristina Fernandez, Jose Mujica from Uruguay and other Mercosur associate members have yet to confirm their participation by writing” said Ambassador Gonzalez who revealed that heads of state have until last moment to confirm or not their decision to travel to Asuncion.
However Venezuela is the only country that has not been sent an invitation because it no longer has a diplomatic representation in Asuncion, and in reciprocity Paraguay closed its offices in Caracas, pointed out Ambassador Gonzalez.
Nicolas Maduro, back in June 2012 was Hugo Chavez foreign minister and was declared ‘persona non grata’ following videos showing him instigating the Paraguayan armed forces to take to the streets in support of the removed Fernando Lugo.
“If Mr Maduro was to come it would present a very serious security problem, a real challenge because there are many local groups that are still furious with him and would openly, aggressively repudiate his presence”, said Paraguayan security forces sources.
“We have given security guarantees to all delegations and delegates; we have the national Police and the Armed Forces responsible for that task. We don’t want anything similar in Paraguay to what happened to US President George Bush back in 2005 when he was booed by protestors during the Americas summit in Mar del Plata” added the sources.
Argentine sources in Asuncion have said that the embassy is preparing to receive Cristina Fernandez for the inauguration of Cartes, but so far there has been no official confirmation.
Cristina Fernandez apparently is not fond of travelling to Paraguay: she was absent from several international events even before the June 2012 incident: she missed the Paraguayan bicentenary independence celebrations; she also skipped the Mercosur summit of June 2011 and the Ibero-American summit of that same year, and last year did not attend the Unasur presidential summit in March 2012.