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Paraguay isolated over president's ouster

The trade group Mercosur suspended Paraguay's membership after Fernando Lugo was impeached last week, though it stopped short of sanctions. Paraguay's absence has paved the way for Venezuela to be admitted.

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South American heads of state dashed the hopes that Paraguay's president, ousted in a fast-track impeachment last week, will be reinstated as the country's chief executive.

While two regional groups on Friday unanimously condemned a lack of democracy in Paraguay after Fernando Lugo was removed from office in a matter of hours, and they banned the country from regional forums until new presidential elections are held next year, they failed to impose economic sanctions on Paraguay, giving the architects of Mr. Lugo's ouster little incentive to backtrack.

Defending the decision, Buenos Aires-based political scientist Atilio Boron says it was the correct move. “The suspension leaves Paraguay on the margin of the legislative and executive bodies within Mercosur and Unasur,” he explains. “Thankfully the presidents decided against economic sanctions. The aim isn’t to punish all Paraguayans.”

In special meetings of the trade bloc Mercosur and the political bloc Unasur, in Mendoza, Argentina, Friday, leaders from across the region revoked Paraguay's membership from both bodies until presidential elections next year. 

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