Hugo Velázquez: the vice president of Paraguay announces his resignation after being accused by the US of “significant acts of corruption”.
BBC News World
After being accused by the authorities in the United States of “substantial corruption”, the Vice President of Paraguay, Hugo Velázquez, announced on Friday that he will leave his post next week.
Velazquez too will withdraw his candidacy for the presidency of the South American country, after positioning himself as one of the favorite contenders to succeed president Mario Abdo by the official Colorado Party.
The vice president announced his resignation after the US Department of State would turn him out for participation in “significant acts of corruption”and therefore he was forbidden to enter that country.
“I will submit my resignation to the vice presidency and I will also submit my resignation to my candidacy for the National Republican Alliance (NRA) of the Colorado Party,” the official told ABC Color radio. He added that he would focus on clearing his name.
President Abdo said that the continuation of the vice-president’s candidacy was “unacceptable”, but welcomed the fact that he had “put himself at the disposal of the US government”.
what is he charged with?
Velázquez is accused by the US of hosting bribes of more than US$1 million to a Paraguayan official conducting an investigation against him.
There were no further details on the nature of the case. But for the US that research “threatened the vice president and his financial interests”.
The announcement was made by the US Ambassador in Asunción, Marc Ostfield, at a press conference in the diplomatic delegation held simultaneously with the publication of a statement by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antony Blinken, in Washington.
“To take care of the movement, it is my obligation to step aside,” Velázquez told Monumental radio. He will put his resignation into effect next week to leave office “in order”, he said.
“I speak with the calmness that my behavior gives me, because I did not do what they accuse me of. I speak with a clear conscience,” he added.
Washington also pointed out acts of corruption Juan Carlos Duarteof the Yacyretá binational hydroelectric plant and who was allegedly the facilitator of Velázquez’s bribery, according to the Paraguayan press.
Like the vice president, Duarte said he was surprised by the accusation: “I’m extremely surprised, I’m going to make myself available to them [EE.UU.]I will ask for the relevant information.”
“I have already resigned from my post, it is a public post and I must honor the republican institutions,” he added.
The designation implies that both Velázquez and Duarte and their immediate family members “are ineligible to enter the United States,” Ambassador Ostfield reported.
USA and the presidential succession
This Friday’s announcement comes three weeks after the United States also pointed to the former Paraguayan president Horace Cartes (2013-2018) of “significant corruption”.
He is accused of “obstructing a major international investigation into transnational crime in order to protect himself and his criminal partner from possible prosecution and political damage.”
The ARN, the political wing of President Mario Abdo, represents Horacio Cartes’ movement in the internal elections of the conservative Colorado Party, which has governed the country for the last seven decades (with the exception of the 2008-2013 period) .