The president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, was called “arrogant hypocrite” by the Paraguayan Industrial Union, UIP, for making promises he never honored, and attacked President Fernando Lugo for generating “overblown fantasy expectations.”
During an end-of-the-year ceremony, UIP president Gustavo Volpe said that the outgoing Brazilian leader with his “impudent hypocrite attitude and taking advantage of the Paraguayan president mendicant approach has made promises impossible to honor.”
Volpe pointed out the irony that Paraguay is one of the few countries in the world with surplus energy, in huge hydroelectric projects shared with Argentina and Brazil, but lacks sufficient power for its industry because it does not have the necessary electricity transmission capacity.
“The situation reached a critical point last summer and since then we have lost a full year without solving the problem; at the most we have seen precarious patches,” complained Volpe.
Brazil has had an arrogant attitude and Paraguayan officials have been mendicant when they should have demanded that Lula honor his repeated promise of building the promised power lines to supply Asuncion and the manufacturing industry.
Volpe admitted that all the fault does not belong to the current government but President Lugo created overblown fantasy expectations about a renegotiation of the Itaipu hydroelectric dam, believing in an alleged ideological affinity, which ended in a huge disappointment when not frustration for Paraguayan aspirations.
Volpe said that Paraguay is still waiting for the Brazilian congress to approve some of the Itaipu review clauses agreed between Lugo and Lula da Silva as well as having access to the promised Mercosur Structural Convergence loans, while other “alternatives from the private sector have been turned down”.
The head of Paraguay’s industry confederation also criticized the announced support for Venezuela to become a full member of Mercosur.
“We are facing a critical challenge which is to define once and for all if Mercosur is a serious project or cruel fiction. It seems ironic and counter-current that at these precise moments they are pressing, seducing the Paraguayan congress to vote for the incorporation of Venezuela to the regional block”.
Furthermore if Mercosur does not begin a serious integration process, “Paraguay should appeal to international tribunals because the fundamental rights of countries are being threatened particularly the jugular of the Paraguayan economy”, said Volpe.
He was referring to the recent month-long blockade by Argentine maritime unions of all fluvial and maritime trade of landlocked Paraguay, which was only lifted hours before the Mercosur summit in Brazil.