Argentina withdraws ambassador from Paraguay: Mercosur decides next week
Argentina is withdrawing its ambassador to Paraguay because of the rapid impeachment of former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
Rafael Edgardo Roma will immediately leave the Argentine embassy in Paraguay, following Fernando Lugo’s removal from power, which was voted by the Paraguayan Congress on Friday. Federico Franco was sworn-in as president, but the Cristina Fernández administration refused to recognise him as leader.
The immediate withdrawal is in response to the grave institutional events ... that culminated in the removal of constitutional President Fernando Lugo and the rupture of democratic order.
The move comes a day after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez described Lugo's ouster as a coup. Argentina was the first nation to take concrete action against its neighbour over Lugo's impeachment.
Federico Franco, Paraguay's former vice-president was sworn in on Friday after Congress voted overwhelmingly to remove Lugo from office, saying he had failed to fulfil his duties to maintain social harmony.
Lugo's ouster was sparked by clashes over a land eviction that killed 17 police and peasant farmers a week earlier. He was a year away from completing a five-year term.
The trial's unprecedented speed raised concerns throughout the hemisphere. Leaders from Argentina, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador said they would not recognize the new administration and vowed to lobby for sanctions against Paraguay.
Fernandez had warned previously that measures could be adopted against Paraguay within the Mercosur trade bloc, which groups neighbours Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay and is holding its mid year summit next week in Mendoza.
On Thursday, the UNASUR group of South American nations sent a delegation of foreign ministers to Asuncion to try to avert a quick condemnation of Lugo, arguing that he needed time to defend himself.
Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa said UNASUR could meet in the coming week to discuss Paraguay.
Regional heavyweight Brazil, a strategic ally to Paraguay, said it will not respond unilaterally and will seek consensus within UNASUR.
Cuba called it a parliamentary coup d'etat executed against the constitutional President Fernando Lugo and the brother people of Paraguay.
Criticism came also from conservative governments.
Chile said Lugo's removal did not comply with the minimum standards of due process, and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said legal procedures shouldn't be used to abuse. ... What we want is to help stability and democracy be maintained in Paraguay.
On Saturday, the Vatican's envoy to Paraguay stopped short of recognizing the new government but expressed satisfaction there has been little unrest other than some confrontations between Lugo supporters and police during the Senate trial.
I am very pleased that the people and authorities have thought of the good of the country, which is to keep giving one's best for the fatherland, envoy Antonio Ariotti said, adding that he would read a message from the Vatican.
The US State Department urged all Paraguayans to act peacefully, with calm and responsibility, in the spirit of Paraguay's democratic principles.
The head of the Kirchnerite caucus in the Senate Miguel Angel Pichetto confirmed that the Senate will hold a special session to reject the ‘institutional coup” which took place on Paraguay on Friday.
The session will begin at 7 pm on Monday, and Pichetto said that the Kirchnerite stance is the same one as President Cristina Fernández and the Foreign Ministry’s of not “recognizing the government that came out after the shameful coup which ousted President Fernando Lugo.”
Pichetto assured that the Paraguayan congress did not guarantee Lugo’s right to defence and that what happened was clearly an institutional coup, which recalls the worst antidemocratic experiences in Latin America.”