Wed | Jun 23, 2021

Leaders reject new president

Published:Sunday | June 24, 2012 | 12:00 AM

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP):President Fernando Lugo's rapid impeachment and ouster by lawmakers has plunged Paraguay into crisis and unleashed a wave of criticism by fellow leftist leaders in Latin America.

The former Roman Catholic bishop elected on a pledge to help Paraguay's poor said he would step aside following Friday's senate vote to remove him from office, even though he called it a blow to democracy.

His quick acceptance of his ouster appeared to have prevented a bigger confrontation and potentially violent protests in the streets of Paraguay's capital Asunción, where his supporters had gathered. But other South American presidents were critical of the impeachment trial, which several called a de facto coup d'etat.

"This goes beyond Fernando Lugo. It goes beyond Paraguay. It's about true democracy for all of our America," said Ecuador's leftist president, Rafael Correa, adding that his government will not recognise any government in Paraguay other than Lugo's.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said he won't recognise the "illegal and illegitimate government" that replaced Lugo either. Chavez said his ally "preferred the sacrifice" of stepping aside, and that the trial had been a set-up.

In Argentina, the government of President Cristina Fernandez said it "is not going to validate the coup d'etat that just occurred" in Paraguay. Bolivian President Evo Morales also called it a coup.

Chilean Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno said "we are worried" that Lugo's ouster "did not fulfil the minimum standards of due process and the legitimate defence that any person deserves."