Leading British figures with an interest in Latin America have joined the governments of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic in condemning what has been widely termed a “political coup” in Paraguay, where the elected President Fernando Lugo has been removed from office by an illegitimate “impeachment” process.
Additionally, concerning reports are already emerging of human rights violations and attacks on progressive and social movements by the new regime as tens of thousands of Paraguayans protest outside the Parliament against the change in government.
Dr Francisco Dominguez, Head of the Centre for Brazilian and Latin American Studies at Middlesex University, said “We should totally reject this vicious attack against democracy in Paraguay. This is an attack on democracy in the whole of Latin America.”
Tony Burke, Assistant General Secretary of Unite the Union, said “Reports of human rights violations against Lugo supporters, trade unionists, campesinos and others are deeply concerning. We are fully on the side of democracy and social progress in Paraguay and Latin America.”
Additionally, President Lugo, although accepting that he is now out of office has termed it an “express coup d’etat.” Previous to the decision the Lugo government had declared the procedures against him illegal and unconstitutional, views that have been echoed by UNASUR and ALBA.
According to news reports, Dilma Rousseff, Brazilian President, has called for the expulsion of Paraguay from MERCOSUR and UNASUR as the action has broken the preserving democracy clauses in the organisations. Leonel Fernandez, President of the Dominican Republic, has said that the ousting of President Lugo was “illegal and undemocratic”.