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Paraguay Vice President resigns after US sanctions

Hugo Velazquez, Vice President of Paraguay, resigned on Friday, August 12, and announced that he will not run in next year’s presidential election after being sanctioned by Washington for “significant corruption.”

While Velazquez denied the US accusation, he said he would resign to “protect” his party.

He said; 

“I speak with the calm that my behavior gives me, because I did not do what they are accusing me of.

“I am speaking with a clear conscience.”

Velazquez was hoping to stand for election next year as Paraguay’s Presidents, including the current leader Mario Abdo Benitez are limited to a single five-year term.

He said; 

“The decision to step aside is to not affect the president.

“I am retiring from politics. It was the last stage of my career. If it couldn’t happen, what are we to do?”

According to AFP, several family members, as well as Juan Carlos Duarte, a close friend and legal adviser to the company that operates the major Yacyreta hydroelectric power station, were sanctioned.

Velazquez denied the allegations made by the US and insisted he has a “clean conscience.” He had run in the ruling Colorado Party’s December primaries ahead of the election next year.

According to Blinken, the US sanctions stem from Duarte offering “a bribe to a Paraguayan public official in order to obstruct an investigation that threatened the vice president and his financial interests.”