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ARGENTINA | 14-02-2024 17:10

Paraguay’s Peña advises President Milei to look for ‘political consensus’

Paraguayan head of state visits Argentina’s leader at the Casa Rosada for talks; Peña advises Milei it will be “difficult” to govern without political support.

President Javier Milei hosted his Paraguayan counterpart Santiago Peña at the Casa Rosada on Tuesday as ties between the duo continue to deepen.

Peña, 45, revealed earlier this week in an interview that he has been in regular contact with Milei since the Argentine leader took office last December and that he has been giving advice to his peer.

It was Milei's first official activity after his return from a tour of Israel and Italy, where he met with Pope Francis, Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others.

A read-out from Milei’s office said that the duo had discussed “joint work in the regional sphere,” including Paraguay’s pro-tempore presidency of the Mercosur trade bloc.

"The head of state analysed with his Paraguayan counterpart the development of integration between both countries in the areas of trade, investments, physical integration and infrastructure, accompanied by Cabinet Chief Nicolás Posse and Economy Minister Luis Caputo," read a statement.

The presidents discussed maritime trade through the strategic Paraná-Paraguay Waterway and the joint management of the Yacyretá Binational Entity,” it concluded.

"Working together we are invincible," said Peña in a video posted on the X social network after the meeting.

 

Advice

Peña, who like Milei is an economist by profession, revealed in a recent interview that he is in regular contact with the president and didn’t shy away from offering him advice.

"We told him that we want to be teammates, we need Argentina to do well," he told the LN+ news channel.

Peña, who referenced the stalling of Milei’s recent mega-reform bill in Congress, advised his libertarian counterpart that he should “build political consensus" in order to pass key legislation.

“Without the support of the political class represented in Parliament, it becomes very difficult,” warned the Colorado Party leader.

“Democracy is super complex,” said the Paraguayan leader. “It requires tolerance and patience."

"It is not the best political system, but it is the best we can aspire to in a society that wants to be free and with quality of life for its citizens," he added.

Using his time in office as a jumping-off point, Peña preached the importance of building wide support for his government’s programme.

"I had the advantage that I won the elections last year with my own majority in both chambers. We have built alliances beyond our own majority and that has allowed me to spend the last six months a reform per month,” he said. “That is the type of consensus that one seeks to generate the great changes that our society requires."

"Paraguay's macroeconomic data are much better than those of Argentina,” he added. “They place it among the most dynamic economies in Latin America, but we cannot say that we solved all our problems."

The conservative leader recalled that "100 years ago Argentina was the fifth-richest economy in the world and Paraguay was on the verge of extermination because it had lost 60 percent of its territory and almost the entire male population had been eliminated."

"Beyond the fact that we both have enormous natural wealth, we have been running the development race from behind and with Argentina in front," said the Paraguayan leader.

 


–TIMES/NA

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