In a speech yesterday, the Paraguayan Defence Minister, Maria Liz Garcia, spoke about her country’s isolation within South America following the impeachment of President Lugo, and her concerns that Bolivia was claiming territory belonging to Paraguay; “We are deeply concerned because of the Bolivian military deployment in the Chaco and according to our intelligence their peers are claiming that zone with the same fanatic intensity as the Argentines over the Falklands.”
The reference to Argentina’s attitude over the Falkland Islands is unusual as most South American countries maintain a united front on this particular issue. In public at least. This may be weakening however, as it was recently reported that Uruguay had also deemed the Falkland Islands to be British territory for their consular purposes.
Paraguay’s suspension within MERCOSUR has allowed the other members of this commercial grouping to let Venezuela join when its entry had previously been blocked by Paraguay’s parliament. Ferdinand Lugo’s impeachment was achieved through a juristic process but drew condemnation from other members of MERCOSUR. No hypocrisy is apparently seen in using the situation to take Venezuela into MERCOSUR in defiance of Paraguay’s views.
The Falkland Islands have been British since 1765. Spain disputed this claim until 1863 when she sent a diplomatic mission to the islands and recognised British sovereignty. Argentina has claimed the Falklands since 1833.