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Paraguay’s vice president resigns after US sanctions

#Paraguays #vice #president #resigns #sanctions

Paraguay’s Vice President Hugo Velazquez announced his resignation on Friday, withdrawing from the race for next year’s presidential election after being sanctioned by Washington for “substantial corruption”.

The US State Department earlier released a statement by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that said Velazquez would be barred from entering the United States for his “involvement in significant corruption, including bribing a public official and interfering in public processes.”

Velazquez had hoped to stand for election next year as Paraguay’s presidents – including current leader Mario Abdo Benitez – are limited to a single five-year term.

“The decision to step down should not affect the president” or her Colorado party, Velazquez told radio station 1080 AM.

“I’m retiring from politics. It was the last stage of my career. If it couldn’t happen, what should we do?”

Several family members were also sanctioned, as was Juan Carlos Duarte, a close friend and legal adviser to the company that operates the large Yacyreta hydroelectric plant.

Velazquez dismissed the US allegations and asserted that he had “a clear conscience”.

He was a candidate for the ruling Colorado Party’s primary in December ahead of next year’s election.

The US sanctions relate to Duarte “offering bribes to a Paraguayan official to prevent an investigation that threatens the vice president and his financial interests,” Blinken said.

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#Paraguays #vice #president #resigns #sanctions

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