Paraguayan President Escapes Poisoning

ASUNCION, Paraguay — (AP) — President Nicanor Duarte narrowly escaped being poisoned by an acid-laced bottle of water plucked from the refrigerator of his armed forces chief, officials said Friday.There was no immediate indication that somebody tried to kill the president on Thursday, but an investigation was under way, said Gen. Mario Soto, in whose office the incident occurred.

One of the president’s doctors, Carmelo González, told a news conference that the president suffered only minor irritations of his mouth and tonsils after quickly spitting out the water tainted with hydrochloric acid.

Defense Minister Nelson Mora said he saw a waiter take the bottle of mineral water from the refrigerator in Soto’s office, where Duarte was meeting military chiefs.

”He opened it and gave the glass of water to the president, who when he tasted it, sensed a strange flavor and spit it all out,” Mora said. “The president immediately felt burning in the mouth.”

Mora and González said laboratory tests confirmed that the water contained hydrochloric acid, a highly corrosive product that is often used as an industrial cleaner.

Swallowing the acid can burn the mouth, throat and intestinal tract, while causing nausea, diarrhea and in severe cases, death.

”It was a very strange inconvenience which we are starting to investigate, but personally I don’t believe anybody wanted to harm the president,” Soto said.

Duarte made light of the incident during a news conference Friday on efforts to attack yellow fever.

”I don’t know why they did that if I’m immortal,” he said.

Source:  Miami Herald

Seems to be that it would be more likely to be aimed at General Soto.

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