Does Paraguay risk pariah status with president's ouster?
Ousted president Fernando Lugo denounced his removal as a 'parliamentary coup,' and hinted that domestic and international pressure could reverse his impeachment.
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Ousted just a year before his term was over
The Paraguayan Senate voted 39-4 Friday to dismiss Lugo a little more than a year before his five-year term was to end, and Franco took the oath of office soon after. Lugo told reporters Saturday that he intends to remain in politics and is considering a possible run for a Senate seat in next year's elections.Skip to next paragraph
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Lugo's ouster drew swift condemnation around Latin America from leaders who called it a de facto coup, and several presidents said they would seek Paraguay's expulsion from regional groups.
Argentine President Cristina Kirchner announced the withdrawal of her ambassador to Paraguay, citing "grave institutional events" and saying the embassy's No. 2 will remain in charge "until democratic order is re-established in that country."
The Cuban government said Saturday it wouldn't recognize the new government and called Lugo's removal a "parliamentary coup d'état executed against the constitutional President Fernando Lugo and the brother people of Paraguay."
Criticism came not just from the left but from conservative governments, too.
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."
Will Paraguay be a pariah?
Given the tough talk, Franco could find mending fences to be a tall order.
"It looks terrible throughout the region," said analyst Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank. "[Lugo's ouster] doesn't look like a deliberative process, and what it looks like is that a president can be removed simply for being unpopular, or making unpopular decisions."
"The new government is going to be pretty isolated for the whole time that it's in power," Isacson said. "For Paraguay's neighbors and trade partners, I think there's probably not great cost involved in isolating the country for a year or more, and then re-recognizing whatever government is elected next year."
Example of Honduras
That would be a scenario similar to what played out in Honduras following the June 2009 ouster of Manuel Zelaya, which was also portrayed by those who took over as a legal, constitutional transition, even as it was denounced elsewhere.
Honduras's interim president was isolated by many Latin American governments, and his elected successor, Porfirio Lobo, only really won the good graces of some in 2011 after Venezuela's Hugo Chavez brokered a reconciliation deal with Zelaya.