Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benítez Tuesday announced he shall not be attending the Forum for the Progress of South America (Prosur) because he continues to be down with COVID-19, but will participate in the event in a virtual manner.
Abdo Benítez has already completed his eight days of isolation but his physicians raised doubts about the convenience of his potential trip to Cartagena de Indias for a Summit during which Singapore is to be welcomed as the group's first associate State.
The III Presidential Summit of the Forum for the Progress and Integration of South America (Prosur) to be held Jan. 27 in Cartagena will be attended by the presidents of Colombia, Iván Duque; Chile, Sebastian Piñera; and Peru, Pedro Castillo, and Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso and also by senior officials of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru and Suriname, according to a Prosur statement.
Chile's President-elect Gabriel Boric has declined Piñera's invitation to attend the Prosur meeting. ”I have spoken with President Piñera to inform him that I have decided not to attend (...) Our priorities are in the formation of teams here in Chile, Boric told journalists last month. However, he announced foreign relations will be tremendously relevant during his presidency which is due to start March 11.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who had announced he would be attending the Summit, has cancelled his plans but no reasons were given for such a decision.
Vice President Hamilton Mourao said The president asked me to replace him on this trip. He did not cite any reason nor did he need to. He just called me at the end of the morning and asked if I could replace him.
It is speculated that Bolsonaro's decision is linked to the celebration of the seventh-day mass for the death of his mother.
Founded in 2019 in Santiago de Chile, Prosur was promoted by conservative leaders such as the Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, the Colombian Iván Duque and Piñera himself. The group was envisioned as a counterweight to Unasur, promoted in 2008 by leftwing leaders such as former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and Argentina's Néstor Kirchner.