Paraguay in the International Arena

Paraguay’s isolation in the international community continues to take curious turns as Paraguayan politicians and diplomats try to shape the direction of the country in the wake of Fernando Lugo’s removal.

Federico Franco, the man who assumed the presidency after the removal of Lugo, has appealed Paraguay’s suspension from Mercosur. As part of the appeal process, Mercosur sent agents to Paraguay to directly observe the conditions on the ground in the landlocked country.

Meanwhile, a new report suggests that Brazil is reconsidering its original stance that favored punishing Paraguay for the removal of Lugo. In addition to (sometimes hackish) criticisms from the opposition, the report says President Dilma Rousseff is basing her reconsiderations at least in part on the complexities of trade and diplomatic ties between Brazil and Paraguay, something I said here could complicate the efforts to marginalize Paraguay.

Finally, I’ve commented before that, while I think ascribing Lugo’s removal to some sense of heavy-handed US imperialism is misguided. That said, the US’s response has been tepid at best, and new information from Wikileaks may reveal why. Documents from both the Bush and Obama administrations show the US continued to monitor Lugo and his policies, in turn suggesting that a paranoia reminiscent of the Cold War still dominates US policies and views on the region. While not seeking to overthrow Lugo, it is clear that his refusal to speak out against Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez made the US wary and spurred further monitoring of Lugo. That the Bush administration would be troubled by Lugo’s stance towards Chávez is not surprising, given that administration’s ties to the failed coup that attempted to topple Chávez; that it continued in some guise under Obama, though, is slightly more surprising and reminds us that, while the US is far from some imperialistic hegemon in the region, nor is it uninvolved in the local and national politics of other countries throughout the Americas.

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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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