July 14, 2020

Paraguay, a praised health management marred by the shadow of corruption



Paraguay enters this Monday in the second phase of its de-escalation, which means greater labor and commercial openness, with reports of irregularities in the supply of supplies that have partially silenced the applause for the government’s health management against the coronavirus.

To date, COVID-19 has left a total of 11 deaths and 800 positive cases, one of the lowest figures in the region and a product, according to the Government, of the early social isolation measures implemented since March.

Containment of the contagions has motivated the entry into phase two of the so-called “intelligent quarantine”, as the Government called this timetable for the gradual lifting of isolation, which now runs until June 15.

This period, made official today in the presidential decree, contemplates the opening of shopping malls, excluding leisure activities therein, the return of civil works and part of the activity of corporate offices.

The phase anticipates the return of football by authorizing individual training, but maintains the suspension of classes and the mandatory use of face masks indoors.

THE PANDEMIC OF CORRUPTION

Both public opinion and most of the media have considered the government’s prompt initiative, including the closure of the borders with Brazil, which occurred before this country became one of the focus of the pandemic.

The person who has personalized the Executive’s successful preventive work before the public is Julio Mazzoleni, the person in charge of health policy to confront the pandemic.

The minister is credited with the vision of proceeding to immediate isolation as a way to save time in the event of an explosion of cases that could not face precarious public health, one of the pending issues in the country.

However, in recent weeks, criticism of Mazzoleni for his administrative management and lukewarm accusations have intensified after the irregularities detected in the purchase of supplies.

Although you have already been aired from the media, it was not until Friday that Mazzoleni announced the termination of the contract with the largest supplier of imported medical materials from China and an investigation to locate alleged implications of Ministry officials.

This after the Office of the Comptroller General of the Republic recorded that the acquisition was “vitiated by irregularities in all its stages.”

The suspension affects the companies Imedic and Eurotec, which were going to provide an important shipment of surgical masks, protective suits, face and eye protectors, all for use by medical personnel.

It was the last act of a series of anomalies in the provision of materials, which weeks before had already caused the resignations of the holders of the National Directorate of Civil Aeronautics and Paraguayan Petroleum.

These cases motivated the creation of the Special Commission for Supervision and Control, despite which the processes to obtain supplies have proven to be the weakest link in the Government in the fight against the coronavirus.

In this regard, the leftist Guasu Front, the third political force, denounced this Sunday that the government chaired by Mario Abdo Benítez “has been evidenced as an” administration highly contaminated by acts of corruption. “

The left-wing agreement, to which former President Fernando Lugo (2008-2012) belongs, made this reminder in the framework of the first anniversary of the political crisis that brought Abdo Benítez to the brink of impeachment.

When an act was signed with Brazil that established a power purchase schedule until 2022, considered by the opposition to be a transfer of sovereignty and which was also not disclosed until a month later.

In this sense, the Guasu Front said in a statement that this uncovered a “network of corruption and influence peddling” that must be taken into account in the current scenario, with the debt of 1.6 billion dollars approved by the Government to face the economic damage caused by the pandemic.

José María Hernández

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