Paraguay Vice President Hugo Velazquez resigns after US sanctions
Paraguay’s Vice President Hugo Velazquez on Friday August 12, announced his resignation and also disclosed that he has pulled out of the running for next year’s presidential election after being sanctioned by Washington for “significant corruption.”
While Velazquez denied the US accusation, he said his resignation would be offered to “protect” his party.
“I speak with the calm that my behavior gives me, because I did not do what they are accusing me of.
“I am speaking with a clear conscience.”
Velazquez was hoping to stand for election next year as Paraguay’s Presidents, including the current leader Mario Abdo Benitez are limited to a single five-year term.
“The decision to step aside is to not affect the president.
“I am retiring from politics. It was the last stage of my career. If it couldn’t happen, what are we to do?”
AFP reported that several family members were also sanctioned, as well as Juan Carlos Duarte, a close friend, and legal adviser to the company that runs the major Yacyreta hydroelectric power station.
Velazquez denied the US allegations and insisted he has “a clean conscience.” He had been a candidate for the ruling Colorado Party’s December primaries ahead of next year’s election.
The US sanctions relate to Duarte offering “a bribe to a Paraguayan public official in order to obstruct an investigation that threatened the vice president and his financial interests,” said Blinken.