Paraguay's President Mario Abdo Benítez Wednesday said that Uruguay's negotiating trade deals outside Mercosur were detrimental to the South American bloc's “essence.”
Obviously it denatures the essence of Mercosur, which is the common market, Abdo was quoted as saying by Asunción's ABC.
The Paraguayan head of state thus opposed his Uruguayan colleague Luis Lacalle Pou's intention to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) free trade community.
However, Abdo admitted these ideas were not exclusively Lacalle's. The issue has been under consideration in Uruguay for a long time, Abdo argued.
The diplomatic missions of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay Wednesday submitted a joint note to Mercosur rejecting Lacalle's unilateral initiatives and warned to sue Uruguay to defend their interests in the legal and commercial spheres.
Abdo also said that he wanted LGBTQ+ activism banned by law and announced a bill in that regard.
The measure would ban people who are part of organizations related to gender claims of feminist and LGBTQ+ collectives from holding public offices or jobs.
In this time of so much manipulation, I want to renew my commitment to the defense of life and family; while Mario Abdo is president, gender ideology will not be included in the curriculum of the Ministry of Education, Abdo said.
This is not a whim of the president, he added. This is an electoral commitment that I made and that was validated by more than 1,200,000 Paraguayans, who voted for a country free of gender ideology and in defense of family values.
Once this law is approved, there will no longer be any public official who is at the service of an NGO and who does not know which values we defend, Abdo stressed.
The Education Ministry's proposals to add a gender perspective stirred up differences between women, feminists, and LGBTQ+ organizations and groups, and pro-life and pro-family groups.
Comprehensive Sex Education (ESI) was first brought up under then-President Fernando Lugo, more than 10 years ago, but the initiative encountered strong opposition and ended up falling. Paraguay continues to be one of the countries with the highest number of forced pregnancies in girls and teenage pregnancies in the region, with an average of 2 girls, between 10 and 14 years of age, giving birth every day.
Homophobic violence and murders especially against trans and transvestites remain unpunished, amid increasing femicide rates nationwide.