Paraguay president alleges coup conspiracy
Sanjay Jha | September 1, 2008 at 11:32 pmby
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There are reports of a possible military coup against the newly formed government. In the meantime beleagured President has also got support from some group.
Paraguay's president warned of a possible coup plot against his new government, saying that rival politicians summoned a key military figure to gauge support for their political ambitions.
Two alleged participants responded that the meeting never happened. But President Fernando Lugo said all Paraguayans need to be on alert for coup attempts by "antidemocratic and retrograde" elements.
"We will not allow attacks on the freedom of our people," Lugo told reporters summoned to his offices. "Those who intend to pursue conspiratorial projects will be met with all the tools the constitution gives me."
Lugo accused retired Gen. Lino Cesar Oviedo, a former political rival who placed third in April's presidential election, of holding the meeting in his home on Sunday.
Lugo told reporters that a liaison between the military and Congress unwittingly was driven to the meeting. He was picked up by the chauffeur of Senate President Enrique Gonzalez, a member of Oviedo's party.
The liaison was asked the political leanings of the military. He said the military is neutral and immediately left.
Oviedo said the military liaison did not visit his house on Sunday, while Gonzalez called Lugo's accusations "absurd."
Electoral Justice Minister Juan Manuel Morales, also accused of attending the meeting, said he was working in his office Sunday night.
Oviedo, who once was jailed for coup-plotting and later cleared, recently helped Lugo form a governing coalition in Congress.
Meanwhile the leader of the country's largest landless group and a lawmaker from the Tekojoja movement that backs Lugo called for public demonstrations in support of the president.
Sen. Martin Chiola of the Colorado Party, which ruled Paraguay for 61 consecutive years until Lugo took office, said protests are "unnecessary."
"These calls to the people could lead us to an inopportune and unpleasant confrontation," he said. "Nobody can logically consider a coup d'etat in Paraguay in these times of democracy."
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