Washington - Organization of American States Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza spoke Tuesday against suspending Paraguay from the bloc over last month's impeachment and removal of elected president Fernando Lugo.
At an emergency meeting of the OAS Permanent Council in Washington, Insulza said that a suspension would have major economic and political consequences for Paraguay and cause “unnecessary suffering” to its people without strengthening its democratic institutions.
Countries like Venezuela and Bolivia - whose governments were politically allied with Lugo - had demanded Paraguay's suspension from the OAS. In response, Insulza proposed the immediate deployment of an OAS mission to “facilitate political dialogue” and ensure that the election scheduled for April 2013 meets democratic standards.
President since 2008, Lugo was removed from office by the Paraguayan Congress on June 22 after a one-day impeachment process. Vice president Federico Franco was immediately sworn in as president.
Lugo's rapid removal raised concerns in Latin America that Paraguay might have violated democratic commitments, a sensitive issue given the region's history of toppled governments.
Paraguay has been suspended from the Mercosur trade bloc and the Union of South American Nations over Lugo's removal, with the regional groups citing “a breach of the democratic order.”
“More than promoting sanctions, we should come together around a point of view that favours giving the organization's support to dialogue with a medium- and long-term vision,” he said.
Bernardino Hugo Saguier, Paraguay's ambassador to the OAS, immediately accepted Insulza's proposals. - Sapa-dpa