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News > Paraguay

Paraguay’s Vice-Pres Resigns After Corruption Charge by US

  • Paraguayan Vice President resigned the post to prove his innocence. Aug. 12, 2022.

    Paraguayan Vice President resigned the post to prove his innocence. Aug. 12, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/@OnwardNG

Published 12 August 2022

Paraguay's Vice President presented his resignation on Friday after appearing on the U.S. corruption list.

The vice-president of Paraguay, Hugo Velázquez, resigned Friday after the U.S. listed him for alleged corruption, which unleashed a scandal in the South American country.

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In addition, he also abandoned the presidential pre-candidacy of the ruling Colorado Party, to which he was heading with a view to the Paraguayan general elections to be held next year. "I am resigning because I have to prove my innocence," he said during an interview with ABC Cardinal radio, in which he confirmed that his departure from the Government will be made official next week.

The resignation took place minutes after the U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, denounced that Velázquez and the legal advisor of the binational entity Yacyretá (EBY), Juan Carlos Duarte, are being investigated for their alleged participation in "significant acts of corruption."

According to the indictment, Duarte, "a close personal and professional collaborator of Vice President Velázquez," allegedly offered "a bribe to a Paraguayan public official to obstruct an investigation that threatened the Vice President and his financial interests." In response, Velázquez said he is innocent and assured that he is completely unaware of the court case.

"I don't have the faintest idea because I am not investigated in any file, I have no idea of the accusation, I never sent to offer anything in any file that I don't even know," said Velázquez said. However, he recognized that if the U.S. defines him as "significantly corrupt," he has no chance to remain in the Government and much less to be a presidential candidate and aspire to win the elections.

"How would he have the moral authority to remain in a team that works for causes and principles?" he questioned. Velázquez regretted, on the other hand, that Washington had included in the list his three children and his wife, Lourdes Samaniego, who is also deputy attorney general, a position she will also have to resign to face the complaint.

He also warned that he had to take care of the relationship between the governments of Paraguay and the U.S. "I have always considered myself an ally of the Americans; I will seek access to the documents so that I can defend myself," he anticipated.

President Mario Abdo Benítez, for his part, celebrated the resignation, considering that Velázquez showed a mature attitude by prioritizing "the interests and credibility" of the nation.

Due to the political commotion, he said he would announce the name of his new Vice-President during the weekend


Paraguay U.S.
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