Socio-political Positions and International Politics
Dr Martin Graf, who is responsible for Latin American affairs at the FPÖ Political Academy, presented a report on his study trip to Paraguay and Brazil. There are plans for a podcast about the trip.
The main cultural destination was the Departamento Itapúa, where the ruins of La Santisima Trinidad de Parana (The Most Holy Trinity of Paraná) and Jesús de Tavarangüe are located. These are former Jesuit reductions (small settlements established by the Jesuits for the indigenous population) and date back to the early 18th century. Both are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The main political and economic topics at all meetings, talks and visits were the economic consequences of the COVID 19 pandemic and the upcoming presidential, congress and senate elections in Paraguay in August 2023 and the presidential, congress and senate elections in Brazil in October 2022. In addition, Graf was also the guest of honour when the resolution was passed to establish a Paraguay-Austria friendship group.
Paraguay is still one of the most politically and economically stable countries in South America. Brazil is internationally somewhat isolated due to President Jair Bolsonaro.
Discussions with senators including Sen. Oscar Rubén Salomón Fernández, Presidente Honorable Camera de Senadores, Sen. Hermelinda Alvarenga de Ortega / PLRA Bancadas C, Vice Presidente Senado & Vicepresidente Comisiones Cultura, Educacion, Ciencias, Tecnologia y Deportes, Sen. Lilian Graciela Samaniego González / ANR Bancadas C, Presidente Comisiones Relaciones Exteriores y Asuntos lnternacionales and Sen. Fidel Santiago Zavala Serrati / PPQ, Comisiones Economia, Cooperativismo, Desarrollo e lntegracion Economica Latinoamericano, focused on issues that are dealt with by the individual committees. Participants shared their experiences with compulsory vaccinations, migration movements, fighting corruption and politically-motivated justice as well as strengthening and initiating educational and training programmes. Reciprocal support in international bodies, such as the Interparliamentary Union IPU was also agreed.
In addition to many questions concerning the deepening of cooperation between the PLRA and FPÖ, discussions with the PLRA party president Efrain Alegre also covered possibilities for cooperation between the respective party academies (think tanks) in areas such as youth exchange, international scholarship programmes, training and further training of functionaries. In the course of the visits, in-depth talks also took place with representatives of the Fundacion Libertad (liberal think tank) in Asuncion.
The visiting programme also included a reception on 18 April 2022 at the Hotel Gurani for Austrians living abroad that was organised jointly by the Austrian community and the honorary consul.
The visit to Paraguay and Brazil served to strengthen direct dialogue on international educational work and also to promote bilateral relations with the countries of Latin America and their representatives at the political, social, economic, cultural and scientific levels.
A further purpose of this study trip to Paraguay and Brazil was to elucidate the political positions and activities of the FPÖ and to formulate positions also within the context of the current policies of the Council of Europe and the European Union. An additional aim was to obtain first-hand information on the ground with a view to learning about social policy positions and also to use encounters and discussions to raise awareness in respect of international political issues. This should in turn contribute to the internationalisation of Austria and an understanding of the concept of the state and statehood in Latin America.