Less than a week before the third anniversary of the coup d’état which removed the elected President of Honduras, Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo was forced from the presidency in a similar ‘parliamentary’ coup. “Honduras was the laboratory for what is happening here”, Lugo told IUF Latin American Regional Secretary Gerardo Iglesias, who travelled to Asunción to show international solidarity with the democratic resistance.”Now the techniques are being perfected in Paraguay.”
The 2009 Honduran coup was initially condemned by regional organizations and the United States alike. The coup was however quickly followed by the farcical election of a “de facto” government; the initial wave of sanctions and condemnations soon yielded to retractions, acquiescence and recognition.
With democracy in shreds, Honduras entered a nightmare spiral of repression and widening poverty. Trade unionists, peasant activists and journalists have been murdered with impunity. In spite of this, democratic forces continue to resist.
Paraguay, like Honduras, is a desperately poor country marked by extremes of inequality. Land remains the key to wealth and power; a clash between landless peasants and security forces, under circumstances which remain to be elucidated, served as the pretext for the coup. The rural magnates who prospered under the long Stroessner dictatorship cling ferociously to their prerogatives.
The latest Latin American new model coup, in which the jackboots appear only after democratically leaders have been swiftly and quietly deposed, must not be succeeded by a “de facto” government and creeping legitimization. All possible pressure must be maintained until Lugo is restored to office, accompanied by renewed pressure on the government of Honduras.