Paraguay’s “Coup”


Since the impeachment of Paraguayan then-President Lugo, the breathless denunciations have come quick and fast from both leaders and publics around Latin America. Cuba is one of several countries who withdrew their ambassadors, indignant at the breaching of the democratic order.

And if Cuba’s complaining, it must be serious.

This has been analyzed to death by much better informed commentators: AQ, for example, discusses whether or not Paraguay should be booted from the OAS (and concludes that it shouldn’t). Al Jazeera are more agnostic with their coverage.

Personally, the reactions of leaders around the region smacks to me of concern for their own position in power. Democracy, to them, is a strong president; the idea of a (democratically elected, let’s not forget) Congress exercising its power to expel a president who performs badly is anathema. It is certain that the procedure was rapid and rather sketchy; nevertheless, it was legal, and comparisons to Honduras, in which the President was removed from the country in his pajamas at gunpoint, are simply ridiculous.

And so the same countries who not that long ago insisted that Cuba should be invited to the Summit of the Americas now demand the diplomatic isolation of Paraguay. The same countries that insist on the injustice of the US blockade of Cuba now propose a similar blockade of Paraguay. A little consistency in their foreign policy would be welcome. 

Spanish readers, two interesting articles at Análisis Latino: Una decisión desprolija pero constitucional por Carlos Gervasoni y El “golpe institucional” en Paraguay por Aleardo F. Laría.

Edited to add:

Greg Weeks at Two Weeks Notice says:

My concern is that “coup” become so broad and so vague as to diminish the term entirely so that it becomes “change of government I strongly dislike,” as has occurred with “terrorism,” which to many people these days means “people I strongly dislike.” They mean everything so ultimately they mean nothing.

This. A million times this. We can criticize what happened, we can disagree with it, but we need to be honest and clear about what it is we are discussing.