OAS convokes session on Paraguay

Sandinista government says OAS should not recognize any government that results from a rupture in democratic institutionalism. Critics of the Sandinista government agree.

(posted June 25, 10:15 a.m.)- The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) this morning convoked a Special Session on Wednesday to make an appraisal of the situation in Paraguay following last week’s controversial removal of President Fernando Lugo.

Many countries in Latin America, including Nicaragua, have denounced as undemocratic last week’s rapid impeachment of the Paraguayan president.

President Daniel Ortega said the “coup” against Lugo is part of a conspiracy to “weaken the process of the Latin American and Caribbean peoples’ struggle.” Ortega said it’s part of the same conspiracy that was behind the alleged failed coup attempts against the Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Evo Morales in Bolivia, as well as the 2009 coup against Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

OAS president Jose Miguel Insulza (courtesy OAS)

Ortega said his government will not recognize the new government of Paraguay, headed by former vice president Federico Franco.

“We cannot recognize [the new government], Nicaragua cannot recognize it, and I spoke about this yesterday with President Lugo and I expressed our solidarity and understanding of the situation that is really dramatic where there is a clear plan among the oligarchy, the rightwing forces and the armed forces,” Ortega said.

Nicaragua’s Ambassador to the OAS Denis Moncada said during last Friday’s Extraordinary Session of the OAS that the regional body should not recognize any government that results from an illegal process or a rupture in that country’s institutional democracy. (Ironically, that’s the exact same argument that Ortega’s critics use against the Nicaraguan government, after the Sandinista leader sidestepped the Constitution to get himself reelected last year).

Right now, however, the issue is Paraguay. OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza said last Friday that Lugo’s removal has had a great impact on the governments of the region, which believe the impeachment occurred with a “lack of respect for due process and the right of legitimate defense.”

Though in strict terms Lugo’s removal was done according to Paraguayan law, Insulza said, “The letter of the law can never protect the violation of principles.”

“Nobody wants this to become a trend that tarnishes this democratic period in our region, to which it has been so difficult to arrive,” he added.

The debate on Paraguay’s future will continue on Wednesday at the OAS.

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