“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.

Paraguay's president, Fernando Lugo, after his swearing-in ceremony in Asunción, in 2008. Photograph: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters

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.

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One Response to “Technical Coup” in Paraguay

  1. Steve Stewart says:

    To date only three countries throughout the planet have recognised the new de facto regime in Paraguay – The Vatican, Spain and Canada.

    Menawhile the South American countries have suspended Paraguay’s membership in the MERCOSUR

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