US report links Cartes to money laundering

The United States Congressional Research Service published a report that qualifies Horacio Cartes, former President of the Republic, as a person linked to money laundering and drug trafficking. The report was published on September 6, 2022 with the title; “Paraguay: An Overview”, by June S. Beittel, Analyst for Latin American Affairs at the US Congressional Research Service.

The report explains that porous borders and ineffective law enforcement have contributed to increased insecurity, drug trafficking and money laundering, especially in the northern states of the country and the triple border area (TBA). ), where Paraguay borders Argentina and Brazil. Paraguay is a transit country for illicit drugs, especially Andean cocaine, destined for neighboring countries and Europe. Paraguay also grows and exports more marijuana than any Latin American country except Mexico.

“Paraguay has experienced violence and kidnappings from the national armed group Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) and its affiliated organizations since 2008. A former vice president kidnapped in 2020 by the EPP has not been rescued. US officials have raised concerns about the foreign terrorist organization Hezbollah, which is suspected of drug trafficking and money laundering activity in the TBA to support its operations. The State Department notes that although Paraguay has made progress in implementing anti-money laundering and anti-terrorist financing laws passed in 2019, prosecutions are rare, in part due to public corruption.

The article highlights that in February 2022, the Paraguayan National Anti-Drug Commission Secretariat (Senad), assisted by the US Drug Enforcement Administration and other international crime-fighting agencies, carried out its largest-ever anti-drug and money-fighting operation. washed. More than $100 million in assets were seized and some two dozen suspected people arrested.

“In May 2022, Marcelo Pecci, a top Paraguayan prosecutor involved in the anti-drug operation, was killed while traveling in Colombia. Colombian authorities suspect the Brazilian criminal group, First Capital Command, and a Uruguayan drug cartel of involvement in Pecci’s murder, both unions have increased their presence in Paraguay”, he notes.


In July 2022, the State Department imposed sanctions (visa restrictions) against former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes (2013-2018) for alleged involvement in significant corruption. In early August, the US government sanctioned Vice President Hugo Velázquez also for alleged corruption and bribery, prompting it to withdraw his candidacy ahead of presidential elections scheduled for April 2023.

Finally, the document reports that in the ANR, with Hugo Velázquez out of the race, Santiago Peña, the candidate backed by “Honor Colorado” and former Minister of Finance under the Cartes government, is in the lead to become the party’s presidential candidate. . In June 2022, various opposition parties, including the PLRA, formed an alliance, the Concertación Nacional, to select a single opposition candidate.

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