29 January 2021
Efraín Alegre, a presidential candidate in the 2018 elections in Paraguay representing a broad coalition of opposition political forces, including the SI member Progressive Democratic Party, PDP, was arrested on the 28th of this month under a pre-trial detention order following an obscure accusation by the regime in power led by the Colorado Party, a political organisation identified for decades with the long dictatorship of General Stroessner and the excesses of abuse and crimes to which it subjected the Paraguayan people. Efraín Alegre, leader of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party, PLRA, who has participated as a guest in meetings of the Council of the Socialist International and its Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, carried out a notable presidential campaign in the last elections that mobilised the Paraguayan people, bringing together leaders and democratic forces under an agenda of change and progress that had broad citizen and popular support. Amid multiple complaints of irregularities and the absence of objective impartiality by the electoral authority, the candidate of the Partido Colorado was declared elected by a narrow margin.
In the past two and a half years since the elections, Efraín Alegre has become a spokesperson for the feelings shared by the opposition and the daily frustration of the Paraguayan citizens, and a personality who day by day raises the voice and opinion of the Paraguayans who bear the burden and the real cost of growing corruption and of the distance and indifference of a government that serves the interests of a visible and narrow minority. On this occasion, the regime is trying to hold him responsible for an alleged crime of producing a false document to an accounting process in a district of the country, related to gasoline expenses by managers in that region during activities of the last campaign, which in no way concerns him personally, and furthermore, as expressed in the country's legal system, is not the responsibility of a presidential candidate.
It is evident that the Paraguayan government, in the hands of President Mario Abdo of the Colorado Party, has decided to set out to destroy the image and authority of this Paraguayan leader who ranks high in the esteem and appreciation of the people.
This global organisation of social democratic, labour and democratic socialist parties strongly denounces this operation by the Paraguayan regime and demands the immediate release of Efraín Alegre, while at the same time we extend our full solidarity to his family and colleagues from his party, as well as to the different political forces that seek to build a new society, a new country, a new morality and a new destiny that Paraguay longs for and that it needs today.