Hoy Paraguay

Corruption, surrender and fortune behind routes killed confidence in Abdo

There are about eight months left for Mario Abdo Benítez to leave the Palacio de López, leaving an administrative period marked by questions in scandalous public purchases, secret acts and sell-out agreements, lack of medical supplies and vaccines during the cruelest stage of the pandemic, and the highway construction priority that allowed him to accumulate fortunes managing the structure of the State. This scenario undoubtedly caused the Abdist political project to fail in the elections last Sunday, and it was the one that received the hardest setback in his candidacy for president of the Governing Board

Source: Media Nation Research Unit

More than 500 years ago, Nicholas Machiavelli already maintained that it is easy to convince the people of one thing, but it is difficult to keep them convinced over time, especially when the actions are so vehemently reprehensible. In 2018 Mario Abdo Benítez managed to convince the Colorado people and then in the general elections all Paraguayans that he could be a figure far from vices and a defender of high national interests. However, it is impossible more than four years after he took office to give him another vote of confidence after so many corruption scandals and sell-out acts that occurred at this stage.

The arrival of the pandemic generated a strong economic and health crisis, but, although the lives of thousands of Paraguayans were at stake, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare provided a scheme to direct tenders to friendly suppliers and use resources with discretion .

Although despite the strong economic crisis that shook Paraguay, the one that always came out on top was the presidential family. In the last four years, Abdo’s company, Almacenamiento y Distribución de Asfaltos SA (Aldia), multiplied its profits thanks to the serial tenders that the Ministry of Public Works and Communications (MOPC) carried out for the construction of roads , even though the priority in the context of the pandemic has been another. During fiscal year 2021, it generated net profits of G. 92,647 million, 13 times more than the net profits it had before Abdo became president.

Another of the family that managed to prosper in the pandemic was his brother-in-law Flavio “Kike” Santander, and his ex-wife Fátima Díaz Benza entered the cannabis industrialization business after an extension of licenses that was carried out by executive decree.

This government also saw how the people’s money was squandered in processes that were more than questioned, examples are the case of the “mau” cleaners from the Social Welfare Institute (IPS), or the long-awaited Petropar milling train, which makes It has been awarded for more than a year, but until now work has not started on the Mauricio José Troche plant, although US$ 6 million was paid in advance.

Corruption, surrender and fortune behind routes killed confidence in Abdo

Organized crime has made Paraguay its base of operations for the processing and subsequent shipment of cocaine to the world, mainly to Europe and Africa. With the dismantling of an intelligence and control unit that the National Anti-drug Secretariat (Senad) had in the river ports, it was strengthened. In recent years, more than 57 tons of “Paraguayan cocaine” have already been seized in various procedures carried out by international agencies.

Abdo was also embroiled in scandals where national sovereignty was at stake. As for Itaipu, there were two strong attacks on high national interests, the first was a few months after assuming the Presidency with the Delivery Act, which contemplated cost overruns of US$ 250 million to the detriment of the interests of Paraguay.

Last August, the Itaipu tariff reduction was accepted to the clear benefit of the neighboring country, which contracts 85% of the hydroelectric plant’s production. In energy matters, this year there was also the case of the sale of fuel to Bolivia with discounts included and at a lower cost in the local market.

Where the economic interests of the State were also at stake was in another extrajudicial secret agreement to pay US$ 7 million to the Argentine briefcase company Texos Oil, which was finally stalled because it was decreed that it was impossible to comply with.

Another world scandal is the negotiations with Juan Guaidó’s team to settle the debt with Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), revealed by the American newspaper The Washington Post. A relative of the presidential family was also involved there, a lawyer who was bidding for a commission of US$26 million.

For painful reasons that disappointed the trust of the Colorado electorate, an overwhelming majority turned its back on Abdo, and his political project was defeated last Sunday.

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