The US on Paraguay: Let’s Work with Other Countries before Formulating Policy

The United States said it will wait to see how the OAS responds to the Paraguay situation regarding Lugo’s impeachment. Said State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland:

“We were very pleased that yesterday’s OAS meeting agreed that Secretary General Insulza will lead a high-level delegation to Paraguay to assess the situation on the ground and report back to the Permanent Council. We think that’s the appropriate course of action, and we are not at this stage planning to rush to judgment on the events in Paraguay until we have that report back.”

Ms. Nuland also refused to use the word coup, intentionally waiting to see how the OAS defines the issue after meeting and further investigating and analyzing the events of the past week. While it no doubt may frustrate many, including Lugo’s supporters, this is the type of tempered approach that has marked much of the Obama administration’s foreign policy with regards to Latin America, most notably with Honduras in 2009. Nuland’s statements are in some ways refreshing – it shows a willingness to make informed decisions, rather than to jump to immediate conclusions that could blow up in the administration’s face, as happened when Bush immediately supported the ultimately-failed coup against Hugo Chávez in 2002. And certainly, it would be ridiculous to assume the US will just sit idly by and not assert some level of influence in the discussions. While some might find the refusal to openly condemn the impeachment process as Paraguay’s Congress conducted it, the US’s willingness to wait and see how international organizations like the OAS respond is just another reminder of the Obama administration’s subtle shift in working with Latin American countries as partners, rather than as either allies to be pushed around or enemies to be directly opposed at all times.

About Colin M. Snider

I have a Ph.D. in history, specializing in Latin American History and Comparative Indigenous History. My dissertation focused on Brazil. Beyond Latin America generally, I'm particularly interested in class identities, military politics, human rights, labor, education, music, and nation. I can be found on Twitter at @ColinMSnider.
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