07-10-2021 Latin American Weekly Report
Castillo steps out from Cerrón’s shadow
Protests erupted against Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benítez this week. The trigger was the government’s perceived mishandling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, above all the shortage of medical supplies and a lack of vaccines, as cases surge to a record high. Thousands of protesters gathered outside congress and the presidential palace Mburuvicha Róga, for six straight days, blaming official corruption for the country’s health crisis and demanding that Abdo Benítez resign. There were some violent clashes with the police, with one fatality and scores of injuries reported. Abdo Benítez was compelled to fire four members of his cabinet in a bid to placate protesters and to shore up support within the ruling Asociación Nacional Republicana-Partido Colorado (ANR-PC). His fate lies in the hands of a faction of the ANR-PC controlled by his chief rival Horacio Cartes (2013-2018).
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