The governments of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador strongly condemned on June 21 a parliamentary coup by the Paraguayan Congress against President Fernando Lugo.
BBC news said on June 22 that, after both houses of Congress voted to impeach Lugo, the president was forced to step down. The vice-president, Federico Franco, was sworn in as president on June 22, as supporters of Lugo massed on the streets, The Guardian said that day.
Prensa Latina said the vote to impeach Lugo came at the urging of the Rural Association of Paraguay and its Congressional members from the Colorado Party. The right-wing Colorado Party ruled Paraguay as a one-party dictatorship for decades.
The impeachment came after clashes over land evictions in Curuguaty on June 15, in which six police officers and 11 farmers were killed. Mark Weisbrot said in the June 22 Guardian the dispute was between landless workers who claimed the land they occupied had been illegally obtained by a Colorado Party politician.
Lugo was elected president in 2008, pledging to advance the rights of the poor, including land redistribution. However, Lugo lacked a majority in Congress.
Venezuelan foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said, “A truly shameful act has been committed”, The Guardian said. He denounced the move against Lugo as “a new type of coup”.
Venezuelan vice-president Elias Jaua described the coup as a new attack from the capitalists and the United States amed at weakening the Latin American revolutionary process, Venezuela Analysis said on June 22.
"The battle of the Paraguayan people is that of the Venezuelans, and we are committed to thwart this new attempt by the oligarchies and imperialism as we did in Venezuela in 2002, and also when they tried to topple Evo Morales and Rafael Correa ," he said.
Venezuela and Ecuador have said they refuse to recognise the new government.
Prensa Latina reported on June 21 that Bolivian President Evo Morales said the impeachment vote was a right-wing strategy aimed at toppling Lugo. He said it was intended to block the political process Lugo had begun in favour of the poorest and most excluded — the landless indigenous people.
Morales urged the indigenous and social movements in Latin America to defend the democratic process in Paraguay.
Morales said the “parliamentary coup d'etat” in Paraguay was also an attack against governments of the region that are implementing deep political, economical, social and cultural transformations that affect the most powerful.