(JTA) — President Horacio Cartes of Paraguay will be recognized by the World Jewish Congress for what the group said was his “contributions to building coexistence.”
Cartes will receive the Shalom Prize, the WJC’s Latin American branch and Cartes’ office both announced Tuesday. The prize, which was established to recognize individuals or organizations who seek peace, will be awarded at a March ceremony in Buenos Aires, the Argentine capital and headquarters of the Latin American Jewish Congress.
Jack Terpins, president of the Latin American Jewish Congress, said Cartes was selected for his “constant support of dialogue and negotiation, from a neutral place, about the situation in the Middle East. ”
Leaders of the Latin American Jewish Congress informed Cartes of the honor at a meeting Tuesday.
“The Jewish people have a lot of history, is very rich in tradition and memory, so this award is an honor for me,” Cartes said at the meeting.
Cartes has confirmed he will be present in Buenos Aires to receive the award, according to the president’s website.
Other Latin American presidents who have received the award include Michelle Bachelet of Chile in 2008 and Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia in 2012.
In July 2014, World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder thanked the government of Paraguay for refusing to sign what he called a “harmful and unbalanced resolution” on the Israel-Hamas conflict offered by the Mercosur, a trade group of five South American nations. He said Cartes “took a brave stand” by refusing to sign.
“We thank him for insisting on fairness, which this declaration lacked,” Lauder said.
Also attending Tuesday’s meeting with Cartes were Saul Gilvich of Uruguay, the secretary general of the Latin Jewish Congress; Jack Fleishman, president of the Jewish community of Paraguay, and other Jewish leaders and Paraguayan officials.