President Santiago Peña met on Tuesday with members of the Paraguayan community in Italy to discuss the situation of the South American expatriates. During the meeting, Peña stressed the importance of his country projecting an image of solid and transparent institutions that would lead to economic growth.
Of course, the departure of Paraguayans abroad is painful for us, because they did it as economic exiles because they did not have the opportunity to work and develop in their country. This often leads some of them to deny our beautiful country. Therefore, our commitment today is to create jobs so that no Paraguayan has to go to another country in search of opportunities and that those who want to return can do so, said Peña, emphasizing the role of Paraguayan identity abroad that the expatriates would represent.
Money wirings are important, but there is something more important, and that is to see Paraguay from a distance, Peña continued. The fact that a student who comes with a scholarship has the opportunity to research and take advantage of the technologies available here, with the idea of taking it back to his countrymen to improve their quality of life, or for other Paraguayan students to have access to that experience, is a contribution of enormous value, he added. The best that Paraguay has to offer the world is its people, the president said.
On Monday, Peña met with Pope Francis at the Casa Santa Marta residence, where the religious leader is staying due to his pneumonia problem that prevented him from praying the Angelus in St. Peter's Square on Sunday. Francis' meeting with Peña and First Lady Leticia Ocampos lasted 25 minutes, it was reported. Despite canceling most of his engagements for medical reasons, the Argentine-born Francis allowed Peña's visit.
The Paraguayan leader also met with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin and Secretary for Relations with States Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher. He then embarked on a tour of the Holy See, which included a visit to St. Peter's Basilica.
Peña's stopover in Italy en route to the COP28 climate summit in Dubai, to be held Nov. 30-Dec. 12, also included talks with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Director-General Qu Dongyu.
Francis had also planned to attend the global event in the United Arab Emirates to deliver a speech on climate change but canceled his plans on the advice of his physicians.