In 2008 a leftist-liberal-Christian Democratic coalition led by the Authentic Radical Liberal Party under the leadership of former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo won the presidency and promised land reforms. However, Lugo's inability to create coalitions, lack of political skill in pressing the fractured conservative parties which dominated Paraguay's congress, and radical land reform advocates produced a formula for failure, broken promises, and uncontrolled rage. Last week, seventeen landless farmers who violently seized property were killed in clashes against the police.
The clash was the last straw for many. The lower house voted seventy-three to one to impeach Lugo. His liberal party as well as more leftist allies in congress abandoned him. The upper house convicted Lugo and replaced him with Vice-President, now President, Federico Franco. Franco is now promising reforms with input from all sides. This was not a coup but a legal constitutional move.
Like Honduras' power change, however, various leftists governments such as Ecuador and Venezuela as well as center-left powers like Argentina and Brazil are opposing the impeachment and state they will not recognize the new government. These governments, really their leaders, fear constitutions which allow for leaders to be replaced. The events in Honduras and Paraguay show leaders are not absolute. Chavez et al fear this message and will do anything to prevent models for their own domestic opposition. This is why Latin American states will press hard to restore Lugo. Expect input from the United States to play a major role in what happens.