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Montevideo, June 13th 2024 - 00:33 UTC

 

 

New incident between Argentine forces and illegal Paraguayan fishermen

Friday, May 10th 2024 - 20:27 UTC
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Argentina's Foreign Ministry has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the conflict, Valdés said Argentina's Foreign Ministry has repeatedly turned a blind eye to the conflict, Valdés said

The Governor of the Argentine province of Corrientes Gustavo Valdés insisted that the Foreign Ministry and the Senate should get involved after another clash was reported between unauthorized Paraguayan fishermen and the Coast Guard (Prefectura Naval Argentina - PNA). “I hope they take care and do not continue denying the conflict as they have been,” Valdés underlined.

He published on X a video showing a boat amid screams and shots. “New incident in border waters in the area of Apipé Island,” the Governor denounced. “All my support and that of the people of Corrientes to the custody and control work of the @PrefecturaNaval in the Argentine coasts in this border area,” he added.

“That the Paraguayan Navy demands navigability documentation from boats, barges, launches, and canoes circulating in the Paraná is very serious: it is a risk and an aggression both to Argentine sovereignty and to #Corrientes,” he underlined.

According to Valdés, the Argentine Foreign Ministry is overcautious regarding the Yacyretá bi-national dam and the Apipé Island, and “turns a deaf ear and looks the other way.” There have already been four similar incidents in less than two years, but the last two were particularly serious.

A PNA officer was wounded during the operation to capture the trespassers after a gunfight and combat maneuvers with machetes and other weapons.

The PNA deployed units to Marco Island, one of the Argentine islets in the Apipé Grande sector. There they detected two Paraguayan nationals camping illegally and with fishing and hunting equipment. But before being able to proceed the Argentine troops were surrounded by Paraguayan canoeists.

The Argentine squad called for reinforcements from the Corrientes police but the Paraguayan Navy arrived first by water and then left the area amid a skirmish in the middle of the Paraná River. The scuffle ended with one Argentine officer wounded and two Paraguayans arrested and handed over to the local Federal Court.

“The situation is serious. Now there are two fishermen and a camp. But if the situation continues like this, tomorrow it will be a bigger camp. Now a tent, tomorrow a hut, then a house and we will end up losing the island because the waters are already Paraguayan,” said Ituzaingó Mayor Juan Pablo Valdés, who is also the Governor's brother.

At ”7.30 a river patrol of the Prefecture Ituzaingó visualizes vessels located on the coast, at the height of KM 1,447 of the Paraná River (progressive) in the area called Isla Marco. We proceed to the seizure of a Paraguayan boat, with engine and prohibited fishing gear, with two citizen offenders,” the PNA said in a statement. The document also noted that at no time did the Paraguayan forces try to help their Argentine colleagues against the offenders.

According to the Ituzaingó City Council, which has jurisdiction over the Apipé Islands, the conflict is not new. Locals believe that behind the illegal fishing lies a cattle rustling scheme.

The mounting disputes are coupled with Paraguay's decision to shut down several consulates and five embassies (in Canada, Portugal, Egypt, Australia, and Switzerland). In Argentina, the measure reached consular offices in Corrientes, Mendoza, Córdoba, and Neuquén.

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