President Joe Biden sent on Monday a letter to his Paraguayan counterpart, Mario Abdo Benítez, regarding the disappearance of six Paraguayans, five of them the president’s in-laws, in the building collapse in Miami last Thursday.
Abdo Benítez received the letter from Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who visited Asunción on an official visit on Monday.
“President Biden sent a very emotional letter to the President of the Republic, which was personally delivered by the Undersecretary of State,” said Paraguay’s Foreign Minister, Euclides Acevedo, in a conversation with the media on Monday.
The six missing are Sophia López-Moreira, sister of the first lady, Silvana López-Moreira; her husband, businessman Luis Pettengill; their three underage children; and Lady Luna Villalba, the 23-year-old nanny who traveled to Miami with the Pettengill López-Moreira family.
Acevedo recalled that all of them “are still in the category of missing persons” and, for the moment, there is no more news about them.
The chancellor pointed out that Nuland has the same information as the Paraguayan authorities, which is the one offered “by the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s Office, what the rescuers and specialists say.”
The six Paraguayans have been missing since Thursday, when a 12-story building in Surfside (Miami-Dade), in which the López-Moreira family owned an apartment, partially collapsed.
Abdo Benitez suspended his schedule during Thursday and Friday, and the first lady arrived Friday in Miami to follow the progress of the rescue efforts from the scene.
Lady Luna Villalba’s relatives received tickets to travel to the United States, according to the Foreign Ministry, although the family preferred to stay in Paraguay.
However, a brother of the young woman, who returned from Argentina, underwent a DNA test required by the authorities for the rescue efforts.
So far, the death toll in the collapse stands at eleven, with 151 missing and 135 found alive, according to official figures.