Uruguayan president Jose Mujica rejected on Monday the possibility of applying economic sanctions on Paraguay following on the “parliamentary coup” as was announced by Venezuela which decided to cut the supply of subsidized oil.
In statements to the press later reproduced in the Executive web, President Mujica said that “from a real point of view, there was some kind of parliamentary coup” with the summary removal of elected president Lugo but he added he does not favour applying economic sanctions “because at the end of the day it’s the people who suffer and pay the consequences”.
Mujica anticipated that will be Uruguay’s position at the next Mercosur summit in Mendoza, June 28/29, and likewise with any decision to be adopted by Unasur.
Land locked Paraguay is extremely vulnerable to any kind of economic sanctions since all its trade is done by river or land through its neighbours Argentina, Brazil and Uruguayan ports.
Foreign Affairs minister Luis Almagro during a press conference denied there was any “ideological issue or political justification” behind the strong condemnation of the new Paraguayan government and the “need to apply the democratic clauses, since we know first hand of efforts to convince lawmakers to abide by the law”.
“The institutional order was broken in Paraguay and it was a summary trial which removed President Lugo. The impeachment did not have the necessary guarantees, the principle of due process neither was respected, as defined by the Inter American Human Rights Commission” added Almagro.
The Uruguayan minister denied Unasur was interfering in the internal affairs of Paraguay and underlined the unity of Unasur countries above different political boundaries: “if we are all on the side of democracy this is how it should be done”.
More specifically on the Mercosur ban for Paraguay, “this refers to the summit and the decision making bodies; all other economic and trade rights remain effective and there is nothing like a blockade or any other type of sanction against the country”.
However Uruguayan opposition strongly criticized Mercosur, Unasur and the government for “a clear interference in the internal affairs of Paraguay, particularly by large countries”.
“The big countries in the region have ‘ganged’ together against Paraguay, and our government is supporting that, when we should, as a small country and as history teaches us, be keeping a distance and let the Paraguayans comply with their constitution and legal system as they have”, said Senator Jorge Larrañaga, head of the main opposition party.
Similarly Senator Ope Pasquet from the junior opposition party said “Uruguay was interfering in the internal affairs of Paraguay; they have kept to what the constitution says and this is not a court trial so if Franco told the Brazilians about the coming impeachment and the fact he would be named next president…that belongs to the political realm and speculation”.
“We have to be extremely careful about these regional organizations and how far they go and pretend to interfere in internal affairs of other countries. I believe our government was too quick in reacting to events”, concluded Senator Pasquet.