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May 1, 2024

Paraguay: A Promising Government Navigating a Perilous Path

By R. Evan Ellis

The greatest gift that Cartes can give the country and President Peña 
is to empower Peña to take the real and symbolic steps to frontally tackle corruption.

From April 23-24, 2024, the author traveled to Asuncion Paraguay as the guest of the Instituto de Desarrollo del Pensamiento Patria Soñada (IDDPS) to give a keynote address for the launching of their new journal. During his trip, he had the opportunity to present his analysis on the advance of the People’s Republic of China and security trends in the region to Paraguayan President Santiago Peña and his National Defense Council (CODENA), as well as speaking with members of both chambers of the National Congress, the local press, and addressing Paraguay’s National Defense College, the Instituto de Altos Estudios Estrategicos (IAEE), among other activities.  This article is the first in a series regarding his findings from that trip.

Paraguay, a land-locked country at the heart of South America, is strategically important for the region, the U.S., and even the Indopacific, in ways that exceed the attention given to it by Washington D.C. Larger than Germany, Paraguay’s geographic centrality means that the country’s commercial and political dynamics and institutional health affect, and is affected by both its immediate neighbors, Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia, and the rest of the continent, through both licit and illicit activities. 
As a major exporter of agricultural products, Paraguay’s access to the Atlantic through the Paraguay and Parana rivers gives it a key role in ongoing subregional negotiations involving Argentina, as well as Brazil, Uruguay, and Bolivia over the maintenance and associated tolls for the use of those waterways. Paraguay further lies at the heart of a partly improved transport corridor (the “bi-oceanic highway”) connecting the agricultural and mineral resources and markets of the middle latitudes of the continent, to Asia through Chile. Paraguay is also member and President Pro-Tempore of the South American Common Market, MERCOSUR, creating enormous opportunities for Paraguayan growth as a manufacturing hub, and also guiding the block as it seeks to complete a derailed free trade agreement with the European Union, although for both sides, success appears unlikely.

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Brazil and the Southern Cone, Economics, Trade & Development, U.S.-Latin America Relations

Background image from Agencia de Informacion Paraguaya (AIP) from article (https://globalamericans.org/paraguay-a-promising-government-navigating-a-perilous-path/)