Latin American leaders reject coup in Paraguay

Latin American countries have expressed concern at the ouster of Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo, with leaders of three countries saying they will not recognise its new government.

Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, Ecuador President Rafael Correa and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Saturday said they would not recognise the government of newly-installed leader Frederico Franco, who was sworn in by the same senate which, minutes before, had voted out Lugo…

Federico Franco, the Paraguay’s newly sworn-in president, has reached out to Latin American leaders to minimise diplomatic fallout and keep his country from becoming a regional pariah…

Given that Franco is a flunky representing the only political party in Paraguay’s history that spent decades as the sole “choice” during extensive periods of dictatorship – why should anyone consider this latest effort anything other than a fascist takeover? Once again.

Senators found Lugo, a former Catholic priest with a string of outstanding paternity cases, guilty of performing his duties badly during the dispute last week that left 17 people dead.

An hour later, to cheers inside Congress and angry clashes outside, 49-year-old vice president Franco was sworn in as the new leader of one of Latin America’s poorest nations.

A torrent of furious responses poured in from across the region, not just from traditional leftist allies like Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, but also from centrist and right-wing governments Argentina and Chile.

“Without any doubt there has been a coup d’etat in Paraguay. It is unacceptable.” Argentina’s Kirchner said…

Central American nations issued a joint statement urging the international community to reject Lugo’s impeachment.

In Washington, a US State Department spokeswoman, Darla Jordan, said: Blah, blah, blah.

Uruguay sets new standard in Copa America history

Diego Forlan grabbed two goals as Uruguay thrashed Paraguay 3-0 in Buenos Aires to secure a record 15th Copa America title.

The striker, who plays for Spanish club Atletico Madrid, struck in each half to become Uruguay’s joint highest scorer in history after Liverpool forward Luis Suarez had broken the deadlock after only 11 minutes.

It marked Uruguay’s first Copa America triumph since 1995 and they can now boast one more title than hosts Argentina, who they beat in the quarterfinal…

Eleven minutes into the match Luis Suarez found the net and edged past Argentina striker Sergio Aguero as the tournament’s top scorer with four goals.

Four minutes before halftime, Egidio Arevalo Rios robbed Nestor Ortigoza of possession and teed up Diego Forlan who made no mistake with a powerful drive.

Paraguay tried to force the pace in the second half and hit the crossbar after Nelson Valdez’s shot was tipped onto the woodwork by Uruguay goalkeeper Nestor Muslera.

But Paraguay’s threat faded after that and they were thankful to another fine save from Villar to prevent Sebastian Eguren putting the game beyond doubt.

That feat was left to Forlan who completed a fine breakaway move in the dying seconds as he finished smartly following Suarez’s precise header and pulled level with Hector Scarone as Uruguay’s all time leading goalscorer on 31.

Now, Uruguay has broken their tie with Argentina for the most victories in this hemispheric competition. Forlan’s final goal was the icing on the cake – pretty much expected with Paraguay throwing players forward in an attempt to get a minimum face-saving goal. But, still an admirable, controlled and skillful goal.

Former slave now a member of Paraguay’s cabinet

A Paraguayan tribal woman who was captured in the jungle and sold into forced labour as a child has become a member of the the country’s cabinet, vowing to improve the lives of South America’s indigenous population.

Margarita Mbywangi, a 46-year-old Ache tribal chief, has been made minister of indigenous affairs, becoming the first indigenous person to oversee ethnic Indian affairs in Paraguay.

She was named in the new cabinet of the leftwing president, Fernando Lugo, who was inaugurated on Friday, ending the 61-year-rule of the conservative Colorado party…

She was sold between several families as a child. “When I was a girl, four years old, the whites kidnapped me in the jungle and I was sold several times to families of hacienda owners…”

She said she would begin to work on legalising Indian titles to lands that sometimes have been claimed by outsiders, as well as to conserve the forests.

For the Indian, the forest is his mother, his life, his present and future,” she said.


Former bishop sworn in as Paraguay’s president

Fernando Lugo is being sworn in as Paraguay’s president, ending more than 60 years of the Colorado Party’s grip on power in the South American nation. Mr Lugo, a former bishop, was elected in April, promising land reform and to work for the poor of Paraguay.

The switch in power is the latest in a series of election triumphs by leftist or centre-left leaders in the region…

Mr Lugo has indicated he will aim to steer a middle way between the kind of radical policies pursued by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the centre-left course taken by the presidents of Brazil and Chile, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Michelle Bachelet.

I’m in the centre, like the hole in a poncho,” he has said…

“We are encountering a devastated country, without institutions. The first thing we are going to demand is a return to the normal and institutional functioning of the country,” he said.

There would also be, he said, “a frontal assault on corruption which is a cancer that corrodes the entire society.”

Good luck, Presidente Lugo. If you stick to your principles, you will be guaranteed the enmity of criminals, corrupt politicians and foreign nations used to profiting from 3rd World poverty.

Your nation will love you.