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Paraguay: President Fernando Lugo is Removed from Office

As we reported earlier, the Paraguayan Senate voted to impeach President Fernando Lugo after a hasty trial. The Paraguayan Congress had voted in favor of opening an impeachment trial triggered by his handling of a land dispute between police and campesinos (“farmers”), which left 17 people dead (seven policemen and ten farmers).

A Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) delegation traveled to Paraguay to meet with the government and the opposition who pushed the impeachment trial. UNASUR had warned of a “camouflaged coup” and of the consequences that the President’s impeachment could bring to the country.

Today the Senate, which is controlled by the opposition, voted 39 to 4 that Fernando Lugo is guilty of poorly performing his duties, as reported by Paraguayan newspaper ABC [es]. Moments later, Fernando Lugo said he accepted the impeachment.

Protests immediately broke out outside Congress, denouncing this procedure as a coup d’état. Several Twitter users reported clashes [es] and police repression [es].

Netizens have been actively reacting to today’s developments.

Estela Nuñez Acosta (@Jesudi) [es] quotes the phrase repeated by legislators who voted in favor of the impeachment, and adds:

“Por la condena”.. todavía no puedo creer que algunos denunciados por corruptos y más pronuncien esta frase. ‪#JuicioPolitico‬

“For the conviction”…I still can’t believe that some denounced as corrupt and more are uttering that phrase. #JuicioPolitico‬ (“Political trial”)

Meanwhile, Alfredo Morinigo (@alfmorinigo) [es] tweets:

#Lugo‬ se merecía el ‪#JuicioPolitico‬ Pero a tan solo 9 meses de la culminación de su mandato no veo la necesidad se hacer esto.

#Lugo‬ deserved the ‪#JuicioPolitico‬ (“political trial”) But with just 9 months before his term ends I don’t see the need to do it.

Regarding the trail, Sergio Lahaye (@SergioLahaye) [es] tweeted from the capital, Asunción:

Maybe I don't get it, but so far I have seen no proof that ‪#Lugo‬ is guilty of any of these charges. Just politicians shouting that he is.

While Lara Tomassi (@laratomassi) [es] says:

Se pusieron todos de acuerdo.. Tanto les costaba cuando trataban temas de salud, educación, transporte publico y demás precariedades?

They all agreed…They had such a hard time agreeing on issues related to health, education, public transportation and other precarities?

Santiago Escobar (@santesgon) [es] laments what this political crisis means for Paraguay:

Destituyeron a ‪#Lugo‬, estamos en boca de todos, tenemos riesgo de salir del Mercosur y Unasur. Pueden cerrar las fronteras‪#DesastreNacional‬

#Lugo‬ was ousted, everyone is talking about us, we are in danger of exiting Mercosur and Unasur. They could close the border ‪#DesastreNacional‬ (“National disaster”)

While analysts and part of the citizenry denounced a coup, others, like journalist Santiago González (@SanTula) [es] argued in favor of the constitutionality of the impeachment process:

El juicio politico es una via constitucional de destitución del presidente. Nuestra constitución es superior a tratados internacionales.

The political trial is a constitutional process for ousting a president. Our constitution is above international treaties.

Fernando Lugo’s Vice-President, Federico Franco, will serve as the new President of Paraguay, and Myrian Jara (@My_Jara) [es] argues that the process would’ve been different if Fernando Lugo had conceded his presidency to his Vice-President:

Desde un principio Federico Franco debia haber tomando el mando y Lugo haberle cedido su lugar y de ese modo esto no iba estar pasando.

From the beginning Federico Franco should’ve taken power and Lugo conceded his place and that way this wouldn’t be happening.

But others, like Fabiana Silva (@fabisilvarojas) [es] reacted differently to Federico Franco’s new role and his speech on Friday:

Todo eso va a hacer en 9 meses? Discurso fuera de la realidad temporal. Por favor dejá de robar ‪#Franco‬. Mi presidente no sos, no te elegí.

He is going to do all that in 9 months? A speech outside of temporal reality. Please stop stealing #Franco. You are not my president, I didn’t chose you.

Federico Franco would serve until 2013, the end of Fernando Lugo’s presidential term. You can read more reports and reactions on Twitter under the hasthags #Lugo, #juiciopolítico (”political trial”), #apoyoaLugo (“I support Lugo”), and #Paraguay.

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