Uruguayan former presidents Jorge Batlle and Luis Alberto Lacalle came in support of the current Paraguayan authorities and political process and claimed the only “coup” was that of Mercosur against Paraguay. They also questioned the removed president Fernando Lugo’s ‘pitiful reaction’ and statements.
The former leaders currently visiting Paraguay met with lawmakers, political and business leaders and still had a long agenda ahead of them. But they also had time to anticipate that Uruguayan president Jose Mujica will have to pay a high political cost for turning its back on Paraguay.
Last June the Paraguayan senate by an overwhelming vote impeached Lugo and had him replaced by Federico Franco, as indicated by the constitutional process. However the three remaining full members of Mercosur, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay reacted by suspending Paraguay from the group and all its activities until April next year when new elections are scheduled.
The two leaders visit to Paraguay was also planned to counter former president Lugo’s presence in Uruguay where he was invited by the unions and the ruling populist coalition which supports President Mujica.
“Former president Lugo, according to his own words and acknowledgement, accepted his removal and the constitutional legality of such action and now pretends to ignore his words and is trying to climb a hill that is too high for him”, said Lacalle.
“The gentleman bishop, as in many other things in his life is a bit out of touch” added Batlle who underlined that Lugo after accepting his removal now alleges political persecution and pretends to head the electoral campaign of the extreme left in the country, “very disappointing for a man who once dedicated his life to God, virtue and duty”.
“I can’t see how he can allege some kind of political persecution when the first thing he did was to admit that what happened (his removal) was legal, and secondly making full use of his right to freedom of expression and reunion, to travel in and out of Paraguay, to meet with his comrades and to look for the vote of Paraguayans abroad, he claims to be a victim of political harassment: I repeat that Mr Bishop as in many other things, is quite lost”, insisted the former Uruguayan president Batlle, (2000/2005).
“Paraguay did what it had to do according to its majority political criteria and complying with the constitution. But regrettably was later victim of a “Mercosur coup””, said Lacalle who ruled from 1990 to 1995.
Batlle went further and looking back into history anticipated that Uruguayan president Mujica “will have to pay a very high price for having abandoned and turned its back on Paraguay. We have a long shared history, we are the two junior members of Mercosur and exposed to the whims of the senior members which I do not need to mention. History has taught us we must march together, and Mr Mujica has ignored this”.