Enrique Castillo, Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs in Costa Rica, has issued a formal statement of disapproval with regard to the lightning-fast impeachment of former President Fernando Lugo in Paraguay. Chancellor Castillo was still at the somber Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development with President Laura Chinchilla when the impeachment took place in Paraguay.
Costa Rica was one of the first Latin American nations to decry the removal of President Lugo from office. Speaking from Rio de Janeiro, Chancellor Castillo said the following:
“Costa Rica deplores the impeachment of the President of Paraguay Fernando Lugo, which took place through a process that evokes vestiges of a coup d’etat.”
Chancellor Castillo spoke on behalf of Costa Rica and expressed hope for a return to normalcy in the nation of Paraguay in accordance to human rights, international convention, and proclamations by Organization of American States (OAS). The Chancellor also extended an offer of asylum to former President Lugo and any member of his cabinet, citing that Costa Rica has traditionally been a destination for democratically-elected political leaders who have been forcibly removed. Such was the case with the former President of Honduras Manuel Zelaya, who was violently overthrown from office in 2009.
In Washington, the Secretary General of the OAS Jose Miguel Insulza has looked into the quick impeachment of former President Lugo and expressed concern over what looks like a rushed summary judgment that, while apparently lawful, does not seem to conform with the rights typically afforded in such cases. The trial and impeachment vote of former President Lugo took about thirty hours of cannonball Senate sessions -hardly enough time to exercise due process, according to a note by Spanish news agency EFE on the Mexican newspaper Vanguardia.
The summary impeachment of the ousted President Lugo was reached after a trial in which he faced charges of having exercised an actus reus doctrine during his presidency of Paraguay. One of the charges involves an incident in which riot police officers clashed against farmers in a bloody land dispute in a remote rural area. That incident caused 17 deaths, and opposition in the Paraguayan Senate was quick to blame the former President for allowing the dispute to get out of hand.
Most nations in the Americas have joined Costa Rica in condemning the ouster.