Weekly Report - 24 February 2022 (WR-22-08)

PARAGUAY: Abdo Benítez fires interior minister over drug links

Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benítez dismissed his interior minister, Arnaldo Giuzzio, on 22 February after he was linked to one of Brazil’s most wanted drug traffickers arrested a week earlier. Abdo Benítez had stood by Giuzzio in the wake of the criticism of his government’s record against organised crime after the murder of a model and popular social media ‘influencer’ in a drug hit at a music concert [WR-22-06]; there was some suspicion that he had remained loyal to Giuzzio because he had taken the fight to a rival faction of the ruling Asociación Nacional Republicana-Partido Colorado (ANR-PC) by formally accusing former president Horacio Cartes (2013-2018) of money laundering and illicit enrichment. But Abdo Benítez was left with no alternative but to relinquish Giuzzio of his services after the damaging allegations emerged.

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