Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Paraguay comes in from the cold after post-coup isolation
by Staff Writers
Asuncion, Paraguay (UPI) Oct 3, 2013

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Paraguay is emerging stronger from diplomatic isolation, slapped on the landlocked country by Latin American neighbors after a June 2012 congressional impeachment ousted former President Fernando Lugo.

What started as an enthusiastic left-wing campaign in solidarity with Lugo, even after he accepted his fate, and led to a controversial fast-tracking of Venezuela's entry into Mercosur regional group has all but fizzled out. Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, Paraguay's three leading Mercosur partners who mounted the campaign, now can't wait to mend fences with Paraguay's new President Horacio Cartes.

Cartes, however, has made clear that he can, and will, wait. The former businessman and Colorado Party centrist politician was elected April 2013 and took office in August. His fortunes have also turned with an economic recovery fueled by higher commodity prices.

In the few weeks before and after his inauguration Cartes minced no words stating what the troika of leaders did was unlawful and ran counter to Mercosur's spirit of good neighborly behavior. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro recently held out an apology as a peace gesture. It wasn't clear if Maduro regretted the way he got his country into Mercosur or the manner in which he was caught trying to mastermind a military coup in Asuncion to bring Lugo back into power.

The irony of it all is that Lugo isn't too keen on getting back into power -- unless the presidency is handed back to him without too much effort, which isn't likely. The former Catholic bishop saw his popularity wane as a succession of women from his flock came forward with claims he'd fathered their children -- three revealed so far.

With Lugo out of the picture, the heat is on Maduro, who not only got Venezuela into Mercosur via questionable methods, with the connivance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, but also was handed this term's rotating chair for the group's leadership. Paraguay argues it should have chaired this round.

So Cartes isn't having any of it. He wants, he says, the "rule of law" to prevail and has spurned olive-branch gestures including cash for Paraguay as "alms" that his nation, however poor, can do without. A return to correct procedure is the key, says Cartes. That, analysts say, is Cartes' shorthand for reversing Venezuela's entry into Mercosur.

Oil-rich Venezuela began as a founding member of Mercosur but soon found its entry blocked because of firebrand politics of former President Hugo Chavez, who died of cancer in March. After much cajoling everyone in Mercosur except the Paraguayan congress agreed to let Venezuela in. With Lugo's ouster and Paraguay's suspension from the group last year, Mercosur's left-wing front-runners saw an opportunity to confirm Venezuela's membership.

That, Cartes argues, was highly irregular and must be rectified. After meeting Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff in Brasilia this week, Cartes sent off another rejoinder to his repentant rivals who caused him so much grief until recently.

"The foreign ministers from Argentina and Brazil must be aware that the return to Mercosur must not be seen as a political deal but effectively [respect for] the rule of the law," Cartes told reporters.

"This is what we've always asked, that's what we are working on, and more than time it's an issue of finding the right procedure," he said.

Analysts say Cartes wants to decide the shape and size of the humble pie the three presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay must eat. He also sees himself able to decide whether he'll agree to let Venezuela stay a member of Mercosur or require it to reapply.

At a recent summit in Suriname, Maduro apologized to the Paraguayan people for his conduct. He was late Chavez's foreign minister when he was caught plotting with Paraguayan military leaders to stage a coup and restore Lugo to presidency.

In the latest bid to appease Cartes and atone for past diplomatic gaffes, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff told him Paraguay "has a very important significance at this moment" and that Paraguay "will always be a strategic country" for Brazil. Her comments were a complete reversal of past threats by the three countries to leave Paraguay out in the cold.

Brazil and Paraguay share the Itaipu hydro-electric power dam on the Parana River. Paraguay says what Brazil pays for taking electricity from the dam is a pittance and must be revised upward.

Cartes also shot back at Rousseff's offers of help with Paraguay's poverty reduction program. "Paraguay is not asking for alms or favors," he said. Paraguay, he said, "wants to sit at the big table." That he said can come only with a return to the rule of law, his reference to the anomalous situation of Venezuela's controversial admission into Mercosur.


Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Bangladeshi court sentences BNP politician to death
Dhaka, Bangladesh (UPI) Oct 2, 2013
A war crimes court in Bangladesh has sentenced an opposition MP to death for his part in murder and genocide during the 1971 war of independence. Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party member of Parliament for Chittagong, was found guilty of nine of 23 charges relating to crimes against humanity, the Bangladeshi Internet news site reported. The ... read more

Satellite flood maps reach crisis teams via Internet

US banks $584 mln in Egypt aid for safe-keeping

China launches satellite to monitor natural disaster

Australia and Indonesia hold conciliatory discussions

Bright, laser-based lighting devices

S. Korean steel plant in India could displace 22,000, says UN

New sensor could prolong the lifespan of high-temperature engines

Paradigm shift: Need something in space? Print it, don't ship it

Scientists warn of 'deadly trio' risk to ailing oceans

Dams provide resilience to Columbia from climate change impacts

South Atlantic fish resources at risk from warmer climate

Pacific's Palau mulls drone patrols to monitor waters

Largest ice mass in California's Yosemite park melting, disappearing

Europe's top court rejects Inuit appeal against seal fur ban

Traces of immense prehistoric ice sheets: the climate history of the Arctic Ocean needs to be rewritten

Warming hits Greenland's caribou

Understanding soil nitrogen management using synchrotron technology

Protecting the weedy and wild kin of globally important crops

Hotpots and snake blood: Asia's libido-boosting foods

Farmers need help to plow through new food safety regulations

Pakistan quake death toll rises to 376

Disaster officials warn New Orleans, Gulf coast over storm Karen

Five dead as Typhoon Wutip batters Vietnam

Tropical Storm Jerry forms in Atlantic

Nigeria bombs Boko Haram 'camp' near site of massacre

Canada reinforces African Union forces in Somalia

Disgruntled Malian troops fire weapons, kidnap officer

Ugandan officers court-martialed over alleged coup plot

Einstein's genius put down to 'well-connected' brain halves

Roma families face wholesale expulsion from France

Genetic study pushes back timeline for first significant human population expansion

Your brain digitally remastered for clarity of thought

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement