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Paraguay: mgr. Valenzuela (president of Cep) at the Te Deum for the national feast, “structural inequalities and poverty, defeating corruption”


The sermon given by the archbishop of Asunción and president of the Paraguayan Bishops Conference, mgr. Edmundo Valenzuela, at the Te Deum for the 207th anniversary of independence, on Tuesday May 15th, has resounded far and wide, even on the media. Promotion of human development and the attempt at finding solutions “to the structural inequalities that keep almost two million Paraguayans in poverty and destitution have caused the social gap to shrink in the last 15 years”. The archbishop stated that “poverty affects 29% of the population and 40% of children under 10; 6% of the population and 4% of families live in extreme poverty or destitution”.
In addition, mgr. Valenzuela censured unfair distribution of land and serious unemployment (which affects one million 600 thousand people, according to a survey by the local Catholic University). And, despite emphasising the positive involvement and the lack of riots at the recent presidential election, he urged: “To defeat corruption and impunity, we must be firmly willing to insist on reforming the legal system and prison law, on the structural purging and healing of public institutions, and on asking for honest judges”.
Cristiano Morsolin, an expert in human rights in Latin America, comments: “In a scenario where the recent election has revealed wrongdoings that have also been reported by the European Parliament’s observers, archbishop Valenzuela’s outcry comes at the end of Cartes’s presidency, implicitly taking stock of the fight against corruption and poverty. Note that an arrest warrant was issued in early May by the Court of Asunción against Juan Pablo Jimenez Viveros, the outgoing president’s cousin. The preliminary investigation found that Jimenez Viveros allegedly tried to empty out two bank accounts in dollars that were connected with two property investment companies, Chai Sa and Matriz Realty Sa. Madrid-based newspaper El País di Madrid said there was a Brazilian wheeler-dealer, Dario Messer, behind the two companies, a man wanted by Interpol as part of the Lava Jato investigation and believed to be very close to president Cartes”.


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