An imminent coup in Paraguay, Honduras-model, with the purpose of ousting President Fernando Lugo was analyzed by UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) leaders during the recent summit held in Buenos Aires, according to press reports from Argentina and Brazil.
Apparently Paraguay President Fernando Lugo requested a closed door meeting with his UNASUR peers to expose his concerns and discuss the issue, which was never made public in Paraguay.
Lugo took office August 15, 2008 for a five year period, with the support of a catch-all alliance which has currently dismembered leaving him with a minority support in Congress and growing difficulties to have legislation passed, one of them the naming of new magistrates for the Supreme Court of Paraguay.
Press reports from Brazil, Argentina and in Paraguay indicate that it is not known what evidence or information President Lugo presented or shared with his peers regarding a possible coup that would remove him from office.
What is a fact is that no UNASUR leader—including Lugo—revealed details of the situation but the final statement of the summit repeatedly endorsed full support for the Paraguayan government and its efforts to stabilize the country and promote development and social inclusion. Paraguay is one of the poorest and most unequal countries in South America.
Actually, the Paraguayan situation was slipped into UNASUR agenda at last moment. Argentina’s financial newspaper Ámbito Financiero published that one of the first tasks of the newly elected UNASUR Secretary General, former president Néstor Kirchner, would be to address the coup attempts in the region. “For this reason he will consider Paraguay as a direct involvement, where Fernando Lugo lives in permanent and serious conflict with his vice-president Federico Franco,” writes Ámbito.
The daily—which now belongs to a group with close ties to Mr. Kirchner—reveals that the UNASUR Secretary General believes the situation is very similar to that of Honduras and ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who was deposed and flown out of the country at gun point by the military, in combination with Congress, in June 2009. Zelaya never managed to return to office, in spite of having been democratically and legitimately elected.
Ámbito Financiero goes on to say that Lugo’s case and conflict with his vice-president is also political fodder for Mr. Kirchner whose wife, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, is distanced from her vice-president Julio Cobos, whom she has been trying to force his resignation.
The newspaper does not mention any other opponents of President Lugo in the Paraguayan Congress or in opposition political parties, particularly the Colorado Party, with 60 years hegemonic dominance of the country’s politics, until the coalition of Lugo defeated it in April 2008.