Paraguay: US troops lose immunity

Paraguayan foreign minister Ruben Ramirez announced on Oct. 2 that in 2007 Paraguay will stop granting US troops immunity from prosecution. The change in policy is an effort to coordinate policies with the other member nations in the Mercosur economic bloc–Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and most recently Venezuela.

In July 2005, Paraguay signed an accord allowing some 400 US soldiers into the country with full immunity for 18 months. That accord runs out at the end of 2006. “With this move, we do not aim to eliminate military cooperation with the United States,” Ramirez told reporters. “We appreciate this cooperation, but it is not possible to grant that kind of immunity.” Thomas Shannon, US undersecretary of state for Latin American affairs, responded that without immunity, the US will not be able to continue military cooperation with Paraguay. (Reuters, Oct. 2; Adital, Oct. 11)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 22

See our last post on Paraguay.