By Nathan M. Walters, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The diplomatic fallout following the recent impeachment of former Paraguay president Fernando Lugo continued over the weekend. Brazil has condemned the impeachment and joined a growing list of countries that are calling their diplomats in Asuncion back home for consultations.
Many governments in Latin America, including Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, and Columbia, share the view that the deposition of Lugo amounts to what the Cuban government has called a “parliamentary coup d’etat“.
Paraguay’s opposition-led Congress voted to remove Lugo from his position on Friday, a response to recent deadly clashes in the country that left seven police officers and ten farmers dead.
Federico Franco, the former vice-president, sworn in as the president of Paraguay shortly following Lugo’s removal, maintains the decision and process were constitutional
On Saturday, the Brazilian foreign ministry issued a confirming that, “[m]easures to be applied due to the breakdown of democracy in Paraguay are being evaluated with the partners of MERCOSUR and UNASUR.”
According to O Globo, Paraguayan Chancellor José Félix Estigarribia was quick to assuage the concerns of Paraguay’s neighbors, particularly Brazil.
“We have great interest in having the best possible relations with Brazil. I have a personal admiration for President Dilma because she is a heroine in the struggle for democracy in Brazil,” said the Chancellor.
Paraguay has assured its fellow MERCOSUR members that the country intends to respect all international treaties to which it is a signatory. However, the response of MERCOSUR members, many of which see the impeachment as violating MERCOSUR’s democratic principles, threatens to further isolate Paraguay.
Possible expulsion of Paraguay from the MERCOSUR regional trading bloc has been mentioned by different leaders, including Brazilian President Rousseff and Argentine President Cristina Fernandez.
Read more (in Portuguese).
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