Paraguay’s vice president to stay on after corruption accusations | Politics News

Hugo Velazquez reversed his decision to resign after the US last week accused him of being involved in ‘substantial’ corruption.

Vice President of Paraguay has reversed a plan to resign this week, said he would not give up his post until he had details of US corruption claims against him.

Hugo Velazquez told reporters on Thursday that he initially offered to resign last week because he “assumed” there was a domestic investigation against him.

But on Wednesday, he received a notice from the Paraguayan prosecutor’s office saying “there is no case against me,” Velazquez said.

“I mentioned when I was talking to you that I would resign… to go and defend myself as an ordinary citizen,” Velazquez told a local radio station.

“Last afternoon I learned that the Ministry of Public Affairs has decided to ask the US Embassy to provide the truth about the lawsuit against me. Today, I have no background to defend myself because there is no investigation in the United States either,” he added.

Last Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said an associate of Velazquez paid a bribe to a Paraguayan state official to “obstruct an investigation that threatened the Vice President and his financial interests”. .

Blinken said Velazquez would be barred from entering the US due to “substantial corruption, including bribing a public official and interfering in public processes”.

“Corruption practices like this also contribute to a decrease in trust in the government and public perception of corruption and retribution in the office of the Vice President of Paraguay,” the top US diplomat said. know in one statement.

The allegation has caused a political earthquake in Paraguay, where Velazquez is set to become the government’s presidential candidate in the primary election for the conservative Colorado Party in December.

Velazquez, who has denied wrongdoing, however dropped out of the nomination and said he would leave the vice-presidency this week.

But while the 54-year-old on Thursday said he would not step down as vice president now, he also said in a statement that his decision not to become a presidential candidate was “immovable.” “.

In July, the US also announced a ban on former Paraguayan President Horacio Cartesaccused the politician turned businessman of corruption and links with “terrorist” groups.

The Cartesian political movement will face Velazquez in the primaries and the winner will be the candidate for the general election scheduled for April 2023. Cartesian candidate, former minister Santiago Pena, still running for election.

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