EU diplomat warns Paraguay it must avoid becoming a narco-state — MercoPress

EU diplomat warns Paraguay must avoid becoming a narco-state

Monday, June 20, 2022 – 20:40 UTC

Looking to the future, Paraguay has green and surplus energy, added García de Viedma

The European Union ambassador to Asunción said on Monday he fears Paraguay could turn into a narco-state if proper measures are not taken.

“Some people are probably exaggerating when they say Paraguay is a narco-state. I think these are exaggerations, but I think it is important to bear in mind that this long-term possibility cannot be ruled out if the necessary and timely measures are not taken, ”said Javier García de Viedma in a radio interview.

He added that when he arrived in the country less than a year ago, one of the issues that caught his attention was the weight of organized crime in the daily life of Paraguay.

“Basically, since the San Bernardino attack, I had the impression that a red line had been crossed and that there was a message from organized crime. Is there a risk ? Yes, there is a risk, but there are also measures, programs, collaborations, not only from the European Union, but also from other countries, and there are very worthy people with great determination to put an end to it. Risks, yes, but also the means and the will,” said the Spanish diplomat.

García de Viedma recalled that the largest shipment of cocaine seized in Europe, 23 tons, came from Paraguay.

“Paraguay is becoming a transit point (for drugs). We have known this for some time and we have to fight against this and the Paraguayan authorities are doing this and we are also helping to make it as effective as possible,” he also explained.

Since organized crime is transnational in nature, the type of cooperation carried out by the EU is regional and not bilateral, also underlined García de Viedma while highlighting three European programs dedicated to this issue; namely the Latin America, Caribbean and EU Cooperation Program on Drug Policy (Copolad), the Assistance Program against Transnational Organized Crime (PACCTO) and the Eurofront, which works specifically on cross-border trafficking.

“Organized crime is of such a nature that it does not seek to create a state. If organized crime was considering having a state in a remote part of Asia, Africa or Latin America, it would be relatively easy to fight it,” García de Viedma also pointed out.

“Organized crime works in such a way that it prefers to control the levers of the state, manipulate the strings so that the state becomes the theater” where crime goes unpunished”, added the ambassador.

“Paraguay had sustained growth before the pandemic, between 4 and 5% for some time. Over a period of more than ten years, it changes the country,” he also said.

“On the other hand, Paraguay has something that belongs to the future, which many countries are fighting for and which is expensive to obtain, which is green and surplus energy. This makes it an additional element to favor investment,” he added.

(Source: Ultima Hora)

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