The Paraguayan opposition Liberal party chairman Efrain Alegre announced on Wednesday, July 31, that he will begin the impeachment process for President Mario Abdo Benitez and Vice President Hugo Velázquez due to questions surrounding an energy deal negotiated with Brazil.
Associated anti-government protests have taken place in Asuncion over the last several days, with another scheduled for Friday, August 2. Though precise details were not immediately available for Friday's protest, previous related others have taken place outside the President's official residence and as marches throughout the city's streets. Previous protests have been attended by an estimated 600 people.
A heightened security presence and transportation disruptions should be expected around all protest. More protests are likely in the coming several days and throughout the impeachment process.
The Itaipu agreement, implicates Paraguay's state-owned electricity company, raising its cost to over USD 200 million. The deal would establish new tariffs, allows the purchase of energy from the Itaipu dam, and was signed and kept secret for months. Four government officials have resigned since the pact was exposed. The impeachment process must begin in the House of Representatives, where 53 votes are required for the procedure to advance.
Individuals in Paraguay, and particularly Asuncion, are advised to monitor the situation, avoid all public demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate localized disruptions, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities.
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