Ambassador Raúl Silvero of Paraguya in Seoul said: “Today Paraguay is a vibrant democracy and has one of the most prosperous and fastest growing economies in the region. In this context, I can say that my country is living one of those moments in the history of nations that make the difference; and as the writer Stefan Zweig would say, Paraguay is living its Star Moment.” (See excerpts from the speech at the end of this report.)
Ambassador Silvero made the statement at a reception he hosted at the Millennium Seoul Hilton on May 18, 2018 in celebration of the 207th anniversary of independence of Paraguya.
The party was very well attended, and the VIP guests Director General Huh Tae-Wan of Latin America and the Caribbean of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Director General Jung Yong-Sun for Latin America of the Korea International Cooperation Agency, and the ambassadors and other senior members of the Seoul Diplomatic Corps.
They included Ambassadors Aleksandr Timonin of Russia, Bruno Figueroa Fischer of Mexico, Vitaly Fen of Uzbekistan, Shiferaw Jarso of Ethiopia, Raul S. Hernandez of Philippines, Daul Matute-Mijia of Peru, Oscar Gustavo Herrera Gilbbert, Michael Schwarzinger of Austria, Fernando Danus of Chile, and Peteris Vaivars of Latvia.
The party was also attended by leading figures from all other walks of life in Korea, including the mass communication media, whence came Publisher-Chairman Lee Kyung-sik of The Korea Post media, publisher of 3 English and 2 Korean-language media, which is marking this year the 33rd anniversary of founding.
Excerpts from the speech of Ambassador Silvero Silvagni:
It is an honor to be able to share with our distinguished guests this special date in which we commemorate the 207th Anniversary of the Independence of the Republic of Paraguay. More than two hundred years ago, in the Heart of South America, brave men and women executed the emancipatory deeds with the ideal of an Independent Republic.
Today Paraguay is a vibrant democracy and has one of the most prosperous and fastest growing economies in the region. In this context, I can say that my country is living one of those moments in the history of nations that make the difference; and as the writer Stefan Zweig would say, Paraguay is living its Star Moment.
Now I would like to refer to the exemplary civic party that we lived on last April 21st, the date on which the Paraguayan people went to the polls to elect their new authorities. The will of the citizens was proclaimed by the Superior Court of Electoral Justice, which declared the new parliamentary authorities and the candidate Mario Abdo Benítez as the new elected-President of the Republic of Paraguay. The President elected will assume the mandate on August 15, 2018, and with it, the challenges that lie in the way of prosperity, welfare and justice.
Changes in the Government bring challenges and opportunities. However, a country with external projection is a country that generates those opportunities. This is even truer for a country whose main literary figure, Augusto Roa Bastos, described it as an "island surrounded by land". For this reason, the Government of Paraguay will continue to strive for the strengthening of the relations with all the countries with which we maintain diplomatic relations. In this context, the Republic of Korea is and has been, for 56 years, a nation close to the affections of the Paraguayan people and a strategic ally to achieve the desired development.
In the face of the end of a cycle of democratic government, it is time to make a reflection, a healthy exercise in every transition process. During the administration of President Horacio Cartes, which will culminate next August, Paraguay has made significant progress in reducing poverty and social development, reaching the lowest levels ever recorded. In the economic sphere, an annual average growth of 6.5% has been achieved in the 2013-2016 period; and an increase in FDI by 25% with a return to investment capacity of 22% - according to data from ECLAC.
Paraguay has been reinserted into the world with new credentials, being its main resources transparency and predictability. This reconnection to the world has taken place in every sense, starting with the infrastructure sector with a record investment of 5,000 million dollars, double of the amount that had been invested during the previous two decades. All this has earned us the recognition and support of governments, international organizations, risk rating agencies and the business sector, both national and international. The Government of the President Cartes has promoted a titanic task in all these fronts, and fortunately, has always had the support of friendly governments that cooperate in this mission.
The Republic of Korea has been and is one of the main allies of Paraguay in its crusade towards progress. Although both countries are geographically distant and historically different, Paraguay and Korea share various commonalities. Solidarity has been a strong element in our relationship. In 1965, Paraguay opened its doors to thousands of Korean immigrants, who, in search of a new beginning, left from the Port of Busan to the “Land Without Evil”. Today, the Republic of Korea is one of the main cooperators of Paraguay, through the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).
In the eagerness to become a knowledge economy, Paraguay is strongly committed to train and educate its citizens and public servants. The Government of Korea has collaborated in this task by providing undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships, to Paraguayan young people, who come to this country attracted by the prestige of Korean education. Strong support for Education has always been the secret of the most develop countries and, in this case, the main pillar of the "miracle" of Korea.
Aware of this correlation, the Embassy of Paraguay is working to establish alliances between the main Universities of Korea and the Scholarship Program of the Government of Paraguay "Don Carlos Antonio López", which, to this date, has provided the opportunity to over a thousand Paraguayans to carry out postgraduate and doctoral studies in the best universities in the world.
As for the efforts to modernize the government and the service it provides to its citizens, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in the sector of Electronic Government. Also, in a few days, a multi-sector delegation, led by the Ministry of the Interior and Security of Korea, will visit our country to work with Paraguayan institutions in the area of Electronic Government.
We understand that training and innovation go hand in hand. Based on this premise, we have signed a Cooperation Agreement with the Agency of the National Information Society for the establishment of a second Access to Information Center. The main objective of this center is to reduce the digital divide for development.
The objectives for the development of infrastructure and the use of energy resources represented another niche for cooperation between our two governments. In this sense, the company K-Water and the Korean Railway Authority, did various consultancies for two large-scale projects, which we hope to implement soon.
With the mission of bringing our people closer and promoting our country, the Embassy of Paraguay has created a tourism program for Korean journalists, sponsored by the Paraguayan Government. The program consists of a tour around the country, where our guests will have the opportunity to learn more about Paraguay; its rich cultural and natural heritage; and discover an "Economically Fertile Country". Continuing with mission of visibility and promotion, we have signed an Agreement between the Korean News Agency Yonhap and the Information Agency of Paraguay for the exchange of information, which will allow a greater connection between the audiences of both countries. Having said that, we invite you to visit Paraguay and discover the best kept treasure in South America.
The most notable economic aspect is the visit to Seoul, in a few days, of the Foreign Ministers of the four MERCOSUR Member States, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, Ambassador Eladio Loizaga, in his capacity as President Pro Tempore of the block. The occasion of the historic visit will be the official launch of negotiations with the Republic of Korea for a Trade Agreement. We trust that the future agreement will allow the intensification of trade and investment flows between the parties.
With so many commemorative dates and mentions of processes and progress, I could not miss this opportunity to congratulate the President of the Republic of Korea, Moon Jae-in, and all his Cabinet, for the first year of government and wish them the greatest success in what remains of his administration. I would also like to reiterate the acknowledgment to the leadership of the Government of President Moon that with his diplomatic efforts, particularly the "Berlin Initiative", has taken important steps towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the establishment of a lasting peace in the region.
Lastly, I would like to extend a fraternal greeting to the dear compatriots, residents in Korea and in the concurrent countries, who contribute to the development of these nations and enrich them with the Guarani culture.