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.
AVN / Press – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / June 22, 2012