Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said Saturday he “regrets” the impeachment of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo and, together with other South American countries “will analyze well what definite position to take.”
According to a press statement on the presidential website, “there may have been abuse of the impeachment proceedings that led to the dismissal of Lugo” who Santos called “a friend.”
Santos made the statement after Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin and other UNASUR ministers visited the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion and rejected the impeachment.
Paraguay’s Senate nearly unanimously impeached Lugo and replaced him with vice-President Federico Franco Friday over the handling of clashes between farmers and police that left at least 17 people dead last week.
According to Franco, the two-day impeachment procedure in Congress “was a political trial in accordance with the constitution and the law.”
However, South American countries like Venezuela, Ecuador and Argentina rejected the two-hour impeachment procedure. Argentine President Cristina Fernandez withdrew her ambassador to Asuncion in protest of the “coup.”
Colombia has not withdrawn its ambassador, but according to Santos the removal from office of Lugo “leaves a bad taste.”
“We will analyze well to see what definite position to take and we hope to do this together with the rest of the countries [in South America].”
The leftist Lugo took office in 2008, but has faced strong opposition from a primarily conservative House of Representatives and Senate, who dismissed Lugo only months before the elections.