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PARAGUAY/ Dismissed President Lugo calls for a return to democracy

Paraguay’s Parliament voted almost unanimously to impeach President Fernando Lugo, who claims, supported by the international community, it was a coup and calls for a return to democracy.

Fernando Lugo   (Infophoto) Fernando Lugo (Infophoto)

Today, it is not Fernando Lugo that has suffered a coup, but Paraguayan history that has suffered a coup”. With these words, Fernando Lugo, removed from office by a vote of the Senate (39 voted for impeachment, 4 against and two were absent) said goodbye to his people. At 17:30 on Friday, June 22, the former Roman Catholic Bishop ended his four years of government, and was replaced by the Liberal vice president, Federico Franco, appointed the 19th president in front of Congress. Former president Lugo said, “I have to respond to the Paraguayan citizens, not to the political classes, the Mafia and the drug traffickers”.

Lugo was gotten rid of by all the members of Parliament, of course, has also lowered its faults policies: being too close to Venezuela and Bolivia and to the leftist internal groups, and not acting against the EPP terrorist group. International diplomacy’s effort with the countries of Latin America came to nothing, as they made a last desperate attempt, expressing “complete solidarity with the people of Paraguay and total support for the constitutional government of Fernando Lugo”. Even the other countries of South America are against the impeachment, some demanding Paraguay's expulsion from the Mercosur, which would isolate an already poor country, the fourth largest soybean producer in the world. In fact, Paraguay was suspended from the Mercosur Summit taking place in Argentina this week.

The real risk is that of a social conflict with a government that is not recognized internationally. Of course for a European democracy it is difficult to understand how a President can be removed from office and another one appointed in just two days. For the new president Federico Franco, the difficult times have begun. He will have to manage social conflict and unrest, promote agrarian reform, and control the EPP terrorist group and drug trafficking. Franco is the first liberal president after 54 years of the Colorado Party in power (with 35 of the Stroessner dictatorship) and 4 of Lugo, who paid for having a parliamentary alliance that was not cohesive with the two major liberal parties (which were part of his government) and Colorado, with his impeachment.