Fernando Lugo, the now ex-president of Paraguay, has denounced his removal from office as a “parliamentary coup.” He said he was going to join those who have urged people to have a peaceful strike. Lugo made his first public appearance since his ouster on Friday and condemned the actions by the Paraguayan Congress, as a coup against democracy and citizenry.
Lugo appeared on TV early Sunday morning in the capital of Asuncion. He was impeached Friday for the way he handled clashes over land that left 17 people dead. His impeachment has sparked condemnation from many of the South American country’s neighbors.
Lugo appeared on a state-funded television channel that has an open microphone and has drawn hundreds of people who are angry at his impeachment. Over 200 people who were outside the television station chanted, they would not recognize any other president in the country besides Lugo.
Lugo mentioned that the neighboring countries of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay have withdrawn their ambassadors and have accused the new government in Paraguay of isolating the country from the rest of the region. He said the new government, now led by President Federico Franco would be responsible for the return of poverty and dictatorship.
He said he has been called upon with other citizens of the country to take part in a peaceful strike and he would do that and encouraged other to as well. Immediately following the impeachment of Lugo on Friday evening, Franco was sworn in and denied that any coup had taken place.
Franco said the country was calm, activity normal and no protests were taking place. Jose Felix Fernandez was appointed by the new president as the foreign minister and will travel to Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina to meet with those governments to explain that democracy was not broken by the impeachment.