Venezuela Decries Attempted Coup in Paraguay, UNASUR Requests President’s Defense Guarantees


The secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), Alí Rodríguez of Venezuela, said yesterday that guarantees ensuring a proper defense should be established in the proceedings against Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo.

Rodríguez said that due process must be respected in the case against the head of state, including providing the necessary time to prepare his defense.

The head of UNASUR and the foreign ministers of member states met Thursday night with President Lugo to analyze the destabilization attempts against his government.

The Paraguayan parliament, controlled by right-wing parties, approved a political trial against the head of state, a measure Lugo has called “unconstitutional.”

In declarations reported on by the news agency IP, UNASUR chief Rodríguez said that “UNASUR’s greatest concern is the legitimate exercise of democracy, and within that, that there be a guiding principal of the administration of justice and conditions, [which is] absolutely indispensable.”

Rodríguez explained that UNASUR member states respect the sovereignty of Paraguay but that the problems concerning democracy in that country affect all of South America.

He said he will meet with diverse political sectors in Paraguay to seek a peaceful solution to the conflict.

Paraguay’s congress requested yesterday, with 76 votes in favor and 1 against, a political trial against the president to attempt to link him to clashes last week in Curuguatay in which 11 farmers and six police officers were killed.

President Lugo will present his defense before Parliament at noon today. Afterward, evidence will be brought forward at 2:30 in the afternoon, allegations will be heard an hour later and sentencing will take place at 4:30.

Venezuelan Government Reaction

Vice-president Elias Jaua described the attempt by the Chamber of Deputies of Paraguay to topple President Fernando Lugo as a new attack sourcing from the bourgeoisie and the United States. During a ceremony to deliver resources to the state of Miranda, Jaua denounced the sectors trying to weaken the South American revolutionary process.

"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 (Bolivia) and Rafael Correa (Ecuador)," he said.

In Jaua’s opinion, it is all about the struggle of the peoples and governments so that the will of the peoples of the region is respected and about "letting imperialism know that our Latin America is no longer their backyard," he said.

"Here we have a people and a government ready to defend the sovereignty and independence of all the countries in the region," stressed Jaua.

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