Ministers want Paraguay suspended from Mercosur

MENDOZA, Argentina – South American foreign ministers plan to recommend that Paraguay be suspended from the Mercosur regional trade bloc over last week’s ouster of former President Fernando Lugo, Brazil’s foreign minister said Thursday.

But Antonio Patriota said ministers attending a bloc summit in Mendoza, Argentina, will recommend against economic sanctions in retaliation for the impeachment of Lugo. Speaking to a small group of journalists outside closed-door meetings, Patriota said he could not give any further details about Paraguay’s possible suspension, nor say how long it might last.

Mercosur’s final decision on what to do about Paraguay will be announced today following a meeting of regional heads of state.

“We have been working on a resolution that will be taken tomorrow … as you all might have anticipated, it is the suspension of Paraguay’s participation from the workings of Mercosur,” Patriota told reporters after meeting with his Argentine, Uruguayan and Venezuelan counterparts.

Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop whose presidency was marred by a cancer scare and several paternity scandals, was ousted June 22 by Congress in a fast trial triggered by a land eviction that killed people in gunbattles between police and landless peasants.

Mercosur barred Lugo’s replacement, former Vice President Federico Franco, from attending the meetings.


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