October 3, 2008

Paraguay Analyst Says Deals Signed With Venezuela “Have No Legal Value”

Text of report by prominent Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color website on 1 October

[Article by political analyst Roque Gonzalez Vera: "The Agreements Signed by Lugo and Chavez Have No Juridical Value"]

President Fernando Lugo has the right to sign international agreements, but he cannot disregard the constitutional mandate of submitting the documents for congressional approval. The "letters of intention" signed with [Venezuelan President Hugo] Chavez have no legal value.

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela seeks the implementation of "Technical Discussion Tables on Water Issues."

Article 4 of the "Letter of Intention on Environmental Issues," which was signed on 16 August in San Pedro del Ycuamandiyu, proposes the establishment of a technical committee, whose members must be appointed 30 days after signing the agreement.

The objective is to "immediately elaborate a work schedule to accomplish the action plan."

Article 5 mentions that Paraguay is designated as "the executioner of the Environmental Secretariat;" however, there is an inconsistency in its Spanish denomination.

The "letter of intention" defines the "Technical Discussion Tables on Water Issues" as "a means to organize communities, which are those in charge of submitting a diagnosis of their current situation, with the object of guaranteeing their leading participation [in those programmes]."

To talk about a "letter of intention," and at the same time establish deadlines for the commencement of a Bolivarian project in Paraguay, is absolutely contradictory since, [at stating this,] there is no longer "an intention," but rather a commitment which must be observed.

Calling it a "letter of intention" is nothing other than a semantic trap. The first ones to fall for that trap were deputies from the Beloved Fatherland Party, PPQ, who deemed that only treaties were subject to congressional approval and who judged them "not subject of constitutional rank."

Article 7 refers to the project's financing: "The expenditures generated at the moment of executing this Letter of Intention, as of its signature, shall be responsibility of the Parties in accordance with their financial capabilities."

Given Paraguay's financial constraints, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela shall run with all expenditures needed to execute the project. Without any impediment, Hugo Chavez will be able to use huge economic resources to purchase the conscience of individuals in our country, which, by the way, have been truly devalued lately.

During his radio programme "Hello Mr President," Hugo Chavez defined on 10 August "Technical Discussion Tables on Water Issues" as follows: "Technical Discussion Tables on Water Issues are tools of the revolution which allow the construction of Bolivarian Socialism, which is not heaven-sent, but which is built from the bottom up, to thrust Venezuelan socialist values."

[President] Fernando Lugo accepted this agreement with Venezuela which compels our country to "organize communities" according to "Venezuelan socialist values."

The "Technical Discussion Tables on Water Issues" is nothing other than a tool for promoting Hugo Chavez's revolution.

All technical levels established in our country are left aside; communities must submit their own diagnosis to guarantee their leadership.

This means doing away with local water provision services and private water suppliers that are an example of self-management organizations worldwide. Paraguay is an international example in issues concerning the distribution of drinking water and its achievements in that area, which instead of strengthening them, they would be displaced in seeking financing from Hugo Chavez.

The National Constitution establishes the obligation of having congressional approval so that international agreements may be part of Paraguayan law.

President Fernando Lugo's administration has not met this constitutional requirement, and therefore, these agreements which were signed with Venezuela have no legal values.

Originally published by ABC Color website, Asuncion, in Spanish 1 Oct 08.

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