Paraguay’s far-right populist presidential candidate arrested

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Paraguayan police on Friday arrested Paraguayo Cubas, a far-right populist who finished third in Sunday’s presidential election and encouraged his supporters to protest against baseless claims his assertion that the vote was ruined by fraud.

Police Commissioner Gilberto Fleitas said in a radio interview that Cubas is being held under orders from the Attorney General’s Office accusing him of violating the peace.

Cubas, the National Crusader Party candidate who received 23% of the vote Sunday, was live-streaming on Facebook when officers arrested him outside his hotel in San Lorenzo , about 15 km (9 mi) from Asuncion.

Fleitas said Cubas got into the police car “without difficulty,” but he continued to go live.

During the broadcast from inside a police car, Cubas chatted with officers and focused the camera on his handcuffs. “You can see I’m imprisoned now,” he said. “All criminals in this country should be handcuffed like the people in Paraguayo Cuba.”

Cubas has told supporters since Monday that he will be traveling to the capital to lead a series of protests that have led to individual clashes with police, largely outside the electoral court in Asuncion.

At least 208 people have been detained “for disturbing public order and other punishable offenses within the framework of protests taking place on national territory,” police said on Thursday. Year.

Efraín Alegre, as the candidate of a broad opposition coalition that came in second in Sunday’s election, has demanded the release of Cuba along with all those who have been detained. hold in the protests this week.

Alegre wrote on social media: “We demand the release of Cubans in Paraguay and all citizens imprisoned for demanding transparency.

Alegre, who received 27% of the vote on Sunday, acknowledged the race shortly after the polls closed, but then on Monday called for manual counting of votes and an international audit of the voting system. e-vouchers of the country after Cubas made his fraud allegations.

The Organization of American States, which deployed a mission to observe the election, on Tuesday said there was “no reason to doubt the outcome” of the vote count.

Santiago Peña of the long-ruling Colorado Party easily won Sunday’s presidential election with 43 percent of the vote.

Over the past few days, Cubas has released images of supporters greeting him in different parts of the country as he makes his way to the capital from Ciudad del Este, a city on the border with Brazil and Argentina.

Fleitas said between 1,500 and 1,800 law enforcement officers were deployed outside the electoral court on Friday awaiting a planned rally by Cuban supporters.

But his supporters are expected to move their protest outside the police station where Cubas was arrested.


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