“Technical Coup” in Paraguay
In what is being described as a “technical coup”, the Paraguayan senate deposed progressive president Fernando Lugo, after a five hour show trial on June 22nd.
The hastily arranged impeachment procedures were initiated following an armed clash last week between campesinos fighting for land rights with police, which left at least 17 dead, including seven police officers. The land in dispute was widely seen to be
illegally obtained by prominent politician Blas Riquelme, whose rightist Colorado party dominates the Paraguayan senate.
The campesinos claim the police opened fire on them after being ambushed by an armed group not connected to the land struggle. Accounts of the massacre point to several highly irregular actions on the part of the police and those who were investigating the event.
President Lugo, a former Catholic bishop from the tradition of liberation theology who had fought for the rights of the poor, was elected in 2008, but did not win majority backing in the Congress. His attempts to advance land reform in the country have been consistently blocked by the right-wing majority in congress.
The governments of the Union of the South American Nations – UNASUR, to which Paraguay belongs, have warned they will not recognize the de facto president installed by the senate. Most have already recalled their ambassadors.
To find out more we invite you to visit the following links:
- Upside Down World (June 24, 2012): Tragic Week in Paraguay
- The Guardian (News, June 24, 2012): Paraguay’s ousted president, Fernando Lugo, denounces ‘parliamentary coup’
- Government of Canada, DFAIT (June 23, 2012): Statement on Situation in Paraguay
- The Guardian (Comment, June 22, 2012): What will Washington do about Fernando Lugo’s ouster in Paraguay?
- CEPR Press Release (June 22, 2012): International Community Should Defend Democratic Government in Paraguay From Coup Attempt, CEPR Co-Director Says