Smuggling outside the agenda

Paraguayan President Horácio Cartes was received with pomp in Brasilia

On a visit to Brazil, the president of Paraguay, Horácio Cartes, put Brazil in embarrassment. Not for President Michel Temer, who received it and even honored him with the Great Necklace of the National Order of Cruzeiro do Sul - the highest Brazilian decoration awarded to a foreign citizen. But, yes, an embarrassment to fight smuggling. The Paraguayan president owns Tabacalera Del Este SA (Tabesa), the largest cigarette manufacturer in the neighboring country and responsible for the largest quantity of cigarettes sold illegally with Brazil. More than 50% of the illegal tobacco that enters Brazilian territory is manufactured by the company, ensures the National Forum against Piracy and Illegality (FNCP). With the right to a pompous reception, flags with the colors of Paraguay at the Esplanada dos Ministérios and free passage on the Monumental Axis - which remained blocked until 11 am yesterday - Cartes reinforced its support to suspend Venezuela from Mercosur and assured the desire to strengthen bilateral agreements with Brazil. In addition, he highlighted the commitment to strengthen the borders with the Brazilian territory in the fight against organized crime. "We have an almost systematic and coordinated responsibility to overcome organized crime, wherever it may be."


The speech, although impressive, is demagogue, evaluates the president of FNCP, Edson Vismona, also president of the Brazilian Institute of Ethics in Competition (ETCO). “It is necessary to transform words into actions. The track record we have does not make me optimistic, ”he said. Cartes assumed the presidency of Paraguay in August 2013. Since then, the smuggling of cigarettes and other Paraguayan products has increased. “In 2016 alone, cigarette smuggling caused losses of R $ 6 billion to Brazil. Of the total, about 90% came from Paraguay ”, calculated Vismona.

Evasive, Cartes avoided talking to the press. He merely said that Brazil's “economic health” is important for Paraguay's economy. On the other hand, Vismona recognizes that the Institutional Security Office (GSI) of the Presidency of the Republic and the Ministry of Justice have deepened studies to establish integration offices that ensure more security at the borders.

Source: Jornal Correio Braziliense (22/08/2017)