Paraguay elections 2023: As a nation that appears to champion democracy and the fair electoral process, the United States should be a staunch supporter of democracy in other countries as well. However, recent reports suggest that the US is engaging in the very activity that it criticizes in other countries – rigging elections.
Specifically, there is evidence to suggest that the US has been involved in election rigging in Paraguay, a small South American nation with a population of just over 7 million people.
The relationship between the United States and Paraguay has come under scrutiny after Paraguayan President Mario Abdo revealed that he had met with the Deputy Director of the CIA, David Cohen, to discuss “national security” matters.
Paraguay elections scheduled for April 30 2023
The upcoming elections in Paraguay, scheduled for April 30, have been described as a test of the country’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan and China. Paraguay is one of just 13 countries in the world that recognize Taiwan as the “Republic of China” and exchange embassies with Taipei. This puts the country at odds with China, which considers Taiwan to be a breakaway province that will eventually be reunited with the mainland.
The upcoming elections in Paraguay could test this policy as its current ruling party, the Colorado Party, seeks to stay in power through its candidate Santiago Pena. However, the Authentic Radical Liberal (PLRA) challenger Efrain Alegre has gained ground in the polls, creating a potential shift in Paraguay’s foreign policy. Alegre has promised to open diplomatic channels to Beijing and end relations with Taipei. If that happens, it will be a major blow to the US which has supported Taiwan as a measure to keep China in check.
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However, this trend is relentlessly changing in the continent. Honduras became the recent country to change its allegiance to Beijing from Taipei.
The US embassy in Asuncion confirmed the meeting between Abdo and Cohen, saying that it “took place within the framework of robust bilateral cooperation” and addressed “shared strategies for combating global threats.” However, the details of the meeting have not been disclosed, and it is unclear what “national security” matters were discussed.
While the meeting between Cohen and Abdo may not seem like a problem on the surface, it becomes more concerning when one considers the fact that the US has a long history of interfering in the internal affairs of other nations, particularly when it comes to elections in Paraguay. In many cases, the US has sought to install leaders who are sympathetic to US interests, even if it means undermining the democratic process.
The fact that the meeting took place just weeks before the election has raised suspicions that the US is attempting to influence the outcome of the election. The US has a vested interest in maintaining its relationship with Paraguay, given the country’s strategic location between Argentina and Brazil.
Paraguay is located at the intersection of poorly marked borders with Argentina and Brazil, forming the Triple Frontier. This area is notorious for its lawlessness and is a hub for various criminal networks, making it an attractive location for the United States. Washington can collaborate with these criminal syndicates to facilitate the transportation of personnel, weapons, and funds across borders and globally.
The US military has descended on Paraguay in the past for its alleged “counter-terrorism” efforts.
Furthermore, the US has a history of using Paraguay as a base for covert operations in the region. During the Cold War, Paraguay was a key hub for US-backed operations in South America, including the training of death squads that carried out human rights abuses across the region.
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The meeting between Cohen and Abdo can lead to the US providing the ruling Colorado party with funding, resources, and training. Further, this wasn’t the only meeting between US and Paraguay officials. The meeting took place in the context of a flurry of contacts between Paraguay and the US at the highest levels, including a meeting between Paraguayan Foreign Minister Julio Arriola and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
President Abdo himself flew out to the US last week. He met with the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM). During his visit, he held meetings with a number of high-ranking officials including U.S. Army Gen. Bryan Fenton, the commander of SOCOM, U.S. Army Gen. Laura Richardson, who leads U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and other senior officials from the Department of Defense.
The meeting of a country’s leader with so many top defence officials of US further has raised questions on the purpose of the meetings. And, with people like Richardson who actively look to plunder the region’s resources makes it more questionable.
The US’s involvement in elections in Paraguay is particularly concerning given the country’s history of political instability and US interference. Paraguay has been ruled by a series of authoritarian regimes, and the US has a long history of supporting these regimes, including through the provision of military aid and training. Therefore, Its involvement in Paraguay’s election raises the spectre of a return to these practices.
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