Mercosur ‘to suspend’ Paraguay over Lugo impeachment
The Mercosur trade bloc plans to suspend Paraguay over the impeachment of President Fernando Lugo, Brazil’s foreign minister has said.
But Antonio Patriota said foreign ministers from Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay would recommend against imposing economic sanctions.
He was speaking at the start of a summit in Mendoza in Argentina.
Regional leaders described the dismissal of Paraguay’s first left-wing president as a parliamentary coup.
Mr Lugo was impeached by the Senate after being given less than 24 hours to prepare his defence.
He was removed over his role in the eviction of landless farmers near the border with Brazil the previous week, which ended with the deaths of 17 people, including policemen and peasants.
The Senate held the impeachment proceedings last Friday. Mr Lugo, who was represented by his lawyers, was allowed two hours to explain his role in the incident.
The Senate voted overwhelmingly to dismiss Mr Lugo, a former Catholic bishop who left the priesthood to become Paraguay’s president in 2008.
Hours later, his vice-president, Federico Franco, from the Liberal Party, was sworn in.
Paraguay was immediately suspended, temporarily, from the regional trade bloc and Mr Franco was banned from attending the Mendoza summit
Pictured: Mr Lugo’s election in 2008 ended 61 years of control by the Colorado Party