Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro harangued Paraguayan military commanders and encouraged them to defend President Fernando Lugo before his dismissal, Paraguayan Defense Minister María Liz García de Arnold told reporters on Thursday.
“Maduro harangued the Paraguayan military to react to the situation that was affecting former president (Fernando Lugo). He (Maduro) asked them to respond at that time, based on the fate of former president Lugo,” said Paraguayan Defense Minister María Liz García de Arnold, AFP reported.
She added that Maduro was accompanied by Ecuadorian Ambassador to Paraguay Julio Prado.
She stressed that despite the insistence of the Venezuelan diplomat, the commanders of the Armed Forces “chose to respect the decision of Congress.”
Arnold reported that the Venezuelan foreign minister appeared at the military cabinet, at the Paraguayan seat of government, during the impeachment of Lugo last Friday, at around 16:00 local time.
Upon Maduro’s request, the chief of the military cabinet, Gen. Angel Vallovera, summoned the top military officers, and Maduro spoke to them. Arnold’s comments to reporters came on Thursday at the end of a military ceremony in the Presidential Escort Battalion, with the presence of President Federico Franco.
She added that Lugo was dismissed one hour after Maduro’s speech.
Despite Maduro’s words, “the commanders of the armed forces acted constitutionally,” said Arnold.
Lugo was dismissed last Friday by the Senate of his country, charged with malfeasance in office, triggering widespread regional rejection.