WSJ: Argentina’s President Rules Out Economic Sanctions Against Paraguay

July 2, 2012 7:39 amComments OffViews:

BUENOS AIRES–Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner said Friday her government won’t levy economic sanctions against neighboring Paraguay following the recent ouster its former head of state, Fernando Lugo.

In a televised address, Kirchner said sanctions would only hurt the Paraguayan people.

The heads of state and top ministers of the 12-member Union of South American Nations gathered in Mendoza, Argentina on Thursday and Friday to consider a joint response to the situation in Paraguay.

Paraguay could face suspension from the South American trade bloc, Mercosur, until presidential elections are held next year, according to Uruguayan senator Alberto Couriel, who is participating in the summit.

The presidents of Paraguay’s partners in Mercosur–Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay–met earlier Friday in Mendoza.

On June 22, Paraguay’s opposition-controlled Senate voted to remove Mr. Lugo, a 61-year-old leftist and former bishop, from office in a swift impeachment process that several governments in South America denounced as a legislative coup d’etat.

The Paraguayan Congress accused Mr. Lugo of “poor performance” in his handling of a deadly clash earlier this month between landless peasants and police that claimed more than a dozen lives.

Vice president Federico Franco, a harsh critic of Mr. Lugo, was sworn in shortly after his impeachment.

Support in Paraguay’s Congress for Mr. Lugo’s dismissal was broad and included many members of his own coalition.

The Senate voted to oust him 39-4, with two abstentions. In the House of Representatives, which voted a day earlier, the tally was an overwhelming 73-1 in favor of his impeachment.

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