Jul 27, 7 years ago

Paraguay’s President Booted from Office

http://blog.ailolalatino.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/3531158719_b92654f177_z.jpgParaguay’s President Booted from Office

Paraguay has been left in a state of instability and uncertainty after Congress voted out the sitting president, Fernando Lugo, after a five hour trial. With a vote of 39 to four, the former Roman Catholic priest and bishop was ousted and Vice President Federico Franco was quickly sworn in as crowds gathered in the street to protest the controversial and possibly unconstitutional decision. Some are calling the move a new form of a political coup while others see democracy in action.

The senate tried Lugo on five charges of malfeasance in office, which had connections to a previous conflict between poor, landless farmers and police than resulted in 17 deaths. Lugo accepted the senate vote on June 22nd and stepped down without a fight, but said in a public address to the country that Paraguay’s democracy “has been deeply wounded.”

Lugo has said that his presidency was targeted because of his aggressive work to help the poor majority of Paraguay.

In a shocking reversal, Lugo and his supporters launched a formal resistance movement the following Monday, only three days later. The Cuban government voiced its support by saying that it would not recognize Paraguay’s new government, calling Lugo’s impeachment a “parliamentary coup d’etat executed against the constitutional President.” During all of this, Paraguayan diplomats are making visits to neighboring countries, attempting to limit political fallout and confirm that there has been no break in democracy.

Recently, Paraguay has accused Venezuela’s Foreign Minister of trying to convince Paraguayan military leaders to support Lugo in a rebellion. As of late July, Paraguayan officials have set up a probe to investigate Venezuelan meddling during his impeachment. Former President Lugo must testify to a public prosecutor who has already heard tesitimony from two former officials and four generals.

Details are still unraveling, so the situation could change in the next few weeks as investigations proceed.

Lead Image: CC Image courtesy of Juan Alberto Pérez on Flickr


Ryan is a writer, photographer, and teacher living and volunteering throughout Latin America.

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