Merida, 14th January 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela and Paraguay have formally restored bilateral relations, after ending them in 2012 in protest of the coup orchestrated against former Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo.
Paraguay’s foreign ministry released an official statement announcing that its embassy in Venezuela was fully functioning. The statement said that diplomatic relations between the two countries were formally re-established.
Further, the Venezuelan ambassador to Paraguay, Alfredo Murga, presented his credentials to the country’s foreign minister, Eladio Loizaga, in a ceremony which marked the formal resumption of bilateral relations between the two countries.
Murga said that Paraguay’s president, Horacio Cartes, will meet with Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro during the upcoming Mercosur summit on 30 and 31 January in Caracas.
In December, the Paraguayan congress approved Venezuela’s entry to Mercosur. The Paraguayan congress had previously voted for six years against Venezuela’s entry. The vote was the only obstacle to Venezuela joining the trade bloc, as all other member countries had already voted in favour.
Jose Maria Ibanez, a right wing member of the Paraguayan congress, said at the time of the approval last month that it was important for Paraguay to “accept the entrance of Venezuela into Mercosur, it’s not convenient for our people to be isolated”.
Paraguay itself rejoined Mercosur last year, after being suspended in 2012 following the coup in June that year. Its suspension meant that the bloc could allow Venezuela to join. Then, when Cartes was elected in August 2013 Mercosur invited Paraguay to rejoin, and Venezuela and Paraguay also resumed some relations. At first, however, Paraguay insisted that it preside over Mercosur instead of Venezuela, which is currently doing so.
Venezuelan ambassador Murga said that in the upcoming presidential meeting the two countries will discuss negotiating a debt that state owned Paraguayan company Petropar has had for some years with Venezuela’s PDVSA. He also said that Paraguay’s meat industry is important to Venezuela.