One month after the ousting of Fernando Lugo, Socrates Fabiano discusses what the white coup in Paraguay means for South American politics
July 22, 2012
In June 2009, many in Latin America felt a sense of dèjá vu. The elected president of Honduras, Manuel Zelaya, who was leading a centre-left government in the country, was flown to Costa Rica in a military plane, after being dismissed from his presidency due to an overnight decision by judges of the Honduran Supreme Court.
The event was reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s when military coup d’états sponsored by the United States swept away democratically elected governments across the continent. But in Zelaya’s case, the means were a little different: instead of tanks and soldiers, it was a republican institution (the Supreme Court) which ousted the president from power, creating a ‘legal aspect’ which aimed to give legitimacy to the process. Needless to say, behind the manoeuvre were Honduran conservative forces who were not at all happy with some of Zelaya’s policies, such as his relations with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.