Lazy eyes listen
On Wednesday, Paraguayan President Mario Abdo revealed that Deputy CIA Director David Cohen paid him a visit to discuss “national security” issues. Only 13 countries in the world recognise Taiwan as the “Republic of China,” and the upcoming election may put that policy to the test.
We received a visit from David Cohen, deputy director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency, with whom we discussed strengthening cooperation between our countries in matters of national security,” Abdo tweeted on Wednesday, alongside a photo of himself and Cohen shaking hands.
The meeting was confirmed by the US embassy in Asuncion, which stated that it “took place within the framework of robust bilateral cooperation” between the two countries and addressed “shared strategies for combating global threats.”
Abdo’s meeting with Cohen was just one of several high-level US-Paraguay contacts this week. On Monday, Paraguayan Foreign Minister Julio Arriola visited Washington and met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. On Tuesday, Abdo flew to the United States.
With a population of only seven million people and located between Argentina and Brazil, Paraguay rarely receives this much attention from Washington. The upcoming election, however, “could determine the country’s diplomatic ties with Taiwan and China,” according to Reuters.
Only 13 countries worldwide, and the only one in South America, recognise Taiwan as the “Republic of China” and exchange embassies with Taipei.
The general elections in Paraguay are scheduled for April 30. Abdo is not a re-election candidate, but his Colorado Party hopes to keep power. However, its candidate, Santiago Pena, has lost ground in the polls to Authentic Radical Liberal (PLRA) challenger Efrain Alegre.
The US Treasury Department recently sanctioned Abdo’s predecessor Horacio Cartes and current Vice President Hugo Velazquez for “significant” corruption. Both have denied all charges.