Tensions Grow as Socialists Slam Ouster of Paraguay Leader as “Coup”

By:  Alex Newman
07/06/2012
       
Tensions Grow as Socialists Slam Ouster of Paraguay Leader as “Coup”

 When former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo Méndez was lawfully impeached by united lawmakers in late June, Latin America’s powerful socialist leaders denounced the move against their comrade as a “coup” against “democracy.” Despite the fact that the impeachment by a democratically elected Congress followed constitutional procedures and was endorsed by the nation’s Supreme Court, the outcry against the ouster and Paraguay’s new leader is still growing.

When former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo Méndez was lawfully impeached by united lawmakers in late June, Latin America’s powerful socialist leaders denounced the move against their comrade as a “coup” against “democracy.” Despite the fact that the impeachment by a democratically elected Congress followed constitutional procedures and was endorsed by the nation’s Supreme Court, the outcry against the ouster and Paraguay’s new leader is still growing.

More than a few Latin American governments have already recalled their ambassadors, refusing to recognize former Vice President Federico Franco as the country’s new legitimate president. An assortment of regional bodies like the socialist-dominated South American Union (UNASUR) and the Mercosur “free-trade” bloc are taking action as well, with the new Paraguayan government being suspended and banned from meetings. More retaliation is potentially in the pipeline.

The suspension from the transnational regimes is set to last until at least the next presidential election, now scheduled for April of 2013. But the move has already allowed the socialist Venezuelan regime to achieve its longtime goal of joining Mercosur over Paraguayan objections. In Paraguay, however, fury is rising quickly over the multilateral attacks.

"They don't have a right to kick us out of any meeting," complained Paraguayan Foreign Minister José Félix Fernández Estigarribia, referring to the recent actions banning the new leaders from participating in multilateral negotiations. "We are the government of Paraguay, elected by the Congress that removed Lugo from office.” 

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Photo of Fernando Lugo Méndez: World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org) / Edgar Alberto Domínguez Cataño

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