Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

The right way, the wrong way, and the Paraguay/updated

Posted by Charles II on June 27, 2012

RNS at HondurasCultureandPolitics has a fuller description of the allegations used as the pretext of the coup, which he translated from a UNASUR link:

(1) Allowing a political youth gathering financed by the government in a military base in 2009.
(2) Facilitating and supporting the invasion of private lands by landless peasants in Nacunday.
(3) Dissatisfaction with the state of public security, linking Lugo to leftist kidnapping groups and accusing him of maintaining an incompetent Interior Minister responsible for 17 deaths.
(4) Signing the Protocol de Ushuaia II in “an attempt against the sovereignty of Paraguay”. The document, in which the governments of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) agree to support democracy in their fellow countries, would allow regional governments (as part of a policy to return an errant state to democracy) to “cut off electric power” to Paraguay.
(5) In the case of 17 deaths in Curuguaty (on June 15), he showed the “inoperativeness of his government, the negligence, ineptitude, and improvisation….which merits his charging by the House of Representatives with bad job performance.”

He linked an article that demonstrated that the third charge is false.

_________________________
Adrienne has a piece on the Paraguayan coup in Inter-American Dialogues:

…There is no question that the aptly-named Franco regime is illegitimate; the coup that ousted President Lugo for ‘poor performance’
clearly violated Article 17 of the Paraguayan constitution, which guarantees the right to due process. …

As in Honduras— which provided the model for this new kind of ‘constitutional’ coup in 2009— the problem is that the spirit of the law [Article 17] itself is radically anti-democratic. Also as in Honduras, ousting the president months before elections blocks promised agrarian reform and guarantees the militarized right wing control over those
elections….

The beneficiaries of this coup include …Monsanto and Cargill…and the United States, which—as was the case in Honduras— seeks to expand its military presence in Paraguay.”

She was joined by Joy Olson of the coup-apologist group WOLA, who says, “we’re seeing a new model of ‘coup’ emerging. Like the Honduran coup, an
elected Congress is attempting to put a veneer of legality on a process that is not fair.”

In the same issue, defenders of the coup argue that:

(Paraguayan Deputy Sebastian Acha)
* Lugo was “passive” in the face of rural resistance to (illegal) land expropriation by the country’s oligarchy
* Lugo “broke ties” with the Liberal Party, thereby weakening the governing coalition.
(former US Ambassador to the US, Nicaragua, and Venezuela John Maisto)
* this is a “political conflict only the Paraguayans can resolve, though they may need some international assistance to arrive at a solution that is
constitutional, legal and peaceful.

If Acha’s argument strikes one as completely ridiculous, that’s because it is. Our press obligingly parrots the line that “Lugo made everybody mad.” Toward the end, so did George Bush, but we didn’t impeach him. Laws are not to be broken just because people make you mad.

Gustavo Setrini of COHA writes:

Land-owners accuse Lugo’s government of sympathizing with land invasions, inciting violence, and failing to protect their property. … However, the bulk of Lugo’s electoral support came from the Liberal Party, which is dominated by landed elites. The Liberals threw their support behind Lugo in exchange for the Vice-Presidential nomination, the promise of multiple ministerial appointments, and the prospect of removing their traditional rivals, the Colorado Party, from power.

The massacre in Curuguaty provided the impetus to unite the soybean-farming and land-owning interests within the rival Colorado and Liberal Parties against Lugo. These groups blamed Carlos Filizzola, Lugo´s Minister of Interior, for the death of the policemen and threatened Lugo with road blocks and impeachment unless the President named a new official who was committed to securing the countryside. Lugo replaced Fillizola, a member of the left-leaning Partido País Solidario, with Rubén Candia Amarilla, a Colorado Party Member who held the post of Attorney General in the last Colorado government and was associated with the repression of landless peasant organizations.

So, you see, by putting the Stroessnerite Colorado Party in power, Lugo was being “passive” about the tumult which arises because there are no just means by which to resolve land disputes. Most people would have said he caved to placate his enemies and they then used his betrayal of his supporters to devour him.

According to Setrini, Article 17 allows impeachment for “’poor performance of his [the President’s] functions, crimes committed in his duties and common crimes,’ but provides no specific criteria for impeachment.” In other words, it allows the Deputies to annul the results of an election for any reason whatsoever.

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