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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05ASUNCION711
2005-05-27 16:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Asuncion
Cable title:  

PARAGUAY POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC UPDATE, MAY 21-27

Tags:  PGOV PREL PINR KCRM MOPS VE CU PM PA 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ASUNCION 000711 

SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/BSC AND EB/IFD/OIA
STATE PASS TO USAID FOR LAC/AA
STATE PASS TO USTR FOR SCRONIN AND LYANG
NSC FOR KIM BREIER
TREASURY FOR OSIA MAUREEN WAFER
TREASURY FOR OTA WARFIELD, VAN KOCH, MILLAR
COMMERCE FOR ITA SARAH COOK
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD DAN JOHNSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/27/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINR KCRM MOPS VE CU PM PA
SUBJECT: PARAGUAY POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC UPDATE, MAY 21-27

REF: A. ASUNCION 675


B. ASUNCION 627

C. ASUNCION 594

Classified By: PolCouns James P. Merz, reason 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (U) Summary:


--------------------------



-- Congress approves military exercises with the US
-- Paraguay to sign Open Skies with Panama
-- Bangladeshi nationals arrested
-- Presidential cabinet shuffle
-- Brazilian troops control border with Paraguay
-- Venezuela and Cuba seek deeper ties


Congress approves military exercises with the US


--------------------------





1. (U) On May 20, the Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to
extend diplomatic privileges and immunities to U.S.
participants in more than twenty joint combined exercises,
medical training exercises, and exchanges from July 2005
through December 2006. Although unable to thwart approval
of the bill, the Deputies belonging to the Beloved Fatherland
(PQ) and the Country in Solidarity Party (PPS) opposed the
bill. Authorization for U.S. forces to enter Paraguay is
still making its way from the Defense Ministry to the Senate,
but adoption in June is expected.

Paraguay to sign Open Skies with Panama


--------------------------





2. (C) On the heels of Open Skies agreements signed in early
May with Chile and the U.S. (ref B and C), a highly placed
source within the GOP indicated that Paraguay will sign its
next Open Skies agreement with Panama on June 2.
Additionally, media reports indicate that Brazilian budget
airline Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA (GOL) has already
received authorization for direct flights to Asuncion, which
should begin in the second half of 2005.

Bangladeshi nationals arrested


--------------------------





3. (C) The Police Special Operations Force (FOPE) and the
Secretariat for the Prevention and Investigation of Terrorism
(SEPRINTE) agents arrested 14 Bangladeshi nationals in Ciudad
del Este on May 19. Comment: Sensitive reporting indicates
that the Bangladeshi nationals are part of a larger document
smuggling ring and possibly part of an alien smuggling
circle. Although several of those arrested carried
legitimate documentation, they were falsely obtained. A
police station in the outskirts of Ciudad del Este, whose
chief is Alfredo Mino, was responsible for authorizing the
issuance of several of these documents.

Presidential cabinet shuffle


--------------------------





4. (U) As reported per reftel A, President Duarte appointed
former Industry and Commerce Minister, Ernst Bergen, as the
new Finance Minister on May 19 after previous Finance
Minister Dionisio Borda resigned. Separately, the President
appointed Ruben Candia Amarilla as the new Justice and Labor
Minister on May 19, Jorge Von Horoch as the new Deputy
Finance Minister on May 22, and Raul Vera Bogado as the new
Industry and Commerce Minister on May 23. Biographical
information on the new ministers will follow septel.

Brazilian troops deployed to control border with Paraguay


--------------------------



--------------------------





5. (U) On May 22, local press reported that Brazil deployed
Army, Air Force, and Navy units to its border with Paraguay
to control strategic points through which contraband, arms,
and drugs could enter. The military operation named "Jaura
II" covers the Brazilian states of Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso
do Sul, and the northeastern region of Parana. To date, there
has been little public Paraguayan reaction to the Brazilian
military's exercise.

Venezuela and Cuba seek deeper ties


--------------------------





6. (U) On May 24, local press announced that Venezuela's
government proposes a plan to provide free medical treatment
to Paraguayan citizens who must undergo eye surgery. The
patients would be sent to Cuba via Venezuela. The GOV would
pay for the airfare between Paraguay and Venezuela; the Cuban
government would cover the airfare between Venezuela and Cuba
as well as the medical treatment. Separately, media reports
that Venezuela,s President Chavez seeks Paraguayan support
for its plan to create a Latin American television network,
"Televisora del Sur". The new system would compete with the
US network CNN en Espaol. Paraguay is reportedly studying
both proposals.
KEANE