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Paraguay formally accuses Venezuela of interference and orders ambassador home

Thursday, July 5th 2012 - 08:21 UTC
Full article 24 comments
Allegedly Maduro met with the top Paraguayan military and demanded they support Lugo Allegedly Maduro met with the top Paraguayan military and demanded they support Lugo

Paraguay's new government ordered home its ambassador in Venezuela after accusing President Hugo Chávez government of meddling in an attempt to avert the impeachment of the Paraguayan president last month.

The swift impeachment of Paraguay's former President Fernando Lugo drew strong criticism from left-leaning governments in South America. Chávez ordered Venezuela's ambassador to leave Paraguay and halted oil shipments in protest.

Paraguay's new defence minister, Maria Liz Garcia, has accused Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro of participating in a meeting with senior Paraguayan military officials during the two-day process that removed Lugo.

Garcia, who was appointed by President Federico Franco, said several days ago she had information that Maduro had urged the military officials to intervene to stop Lugo from being removed from office by Congress.

Maduro dismissed the accusations last week.

Garcia made her statement on Wednesday before a prosecutor who has opened an investigation.

Citing “the grave evidence of intervention by Venezuelan officials in the internal affairs of Paraguay,” the Foreign Ministry ordered its ambassador to leave Caracas.

Earlier this week, Franco's government gave journalists copies of security camera footage showing Maduro walking down a corridor in the presidential palace. Other images showed military chiefs, but there were no pictures of them meeting.

Landlocked Paraguay with a long history of political instability and military rule, making accusations of military meddling is a highly sensitive subject.

Maduro travelled to Asuncion the day before Lugo's was removed from the presidency after a hearing that lasted hours. He went as part of a delegation of foreign ministers from countries belonging to the UNASUR regional grouping.

The Union of South American Nations and regional trade bloc Mercosur have suspended Paraguay from both organizations until elections are held next year.

President Franco has pledged to comply with the electoral calendar with elections next April and the swearing in ceremony of the elected president in August 2013.

An Organization of American States mission that visited Paraguay for on the ground fact-finding will deliver its report to the OAS Permanent Council next Monday.

Top Comments

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  • Richfe

    Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but in plain language Venezuela is being accused of conspiring with the Paraguayan military to overturn/prevent legal due process (albeit a process that can be criticised due to its haste). Is this any different from encouraging a military coup?

    Jul 05th, 2012 - 08:51 am 0
  • damian

    You miss the point, there are good military coups and bad military coups. This, in the eyes of Argentina, Venezuela and maybe even Brazil would have been a good military coup.

    A good military coup is not a military coup but an extension of South American diplomacy.

    It's so simple!

    Jul 05th, 2012 - 09:35 am 0
  • British_Kirchnerist

    A military COUNTER-coup could indeed be “good”, though its just as likely that the allegations are entirely false. Cutting diplomatic relations with Venezuela eh, so the the right wing backlash under this appaling government is well under way!

    Jul 05th, 2012 - 10:02 am 0
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