Like Zelaya, Lugo is a failed leftist, or we wouldn't be hearing any of this noise about how a non-violent constitutional processes is tantamount to a coup. He's an unlikely leftist hero, however. For one thing, he was a Catholic Bishop who was officially "laicized" by the Church only after he won the presidential election in 2007. And yet he wasn't exactly your garden-variety Bishop, either. Raised in a thoroughly secular but highly politicized family, he defied his father's wish that he study law and instead became a teacher in a strongly religious rural community that lacked a priest. At age 19, inspired by their need or their piety, he entered a seminary and was ordained a priest at age 26. Not surprisingly, he quickly fell in with liberation theology. He became a Bishop in 1994 at the age of 43. Eleven years later, he attempted to resign his ordination to run for president, in compliance with a constitutional ban on simultaneously holding religious and national office. The Church refused at first to laicize him, but relented after he won the election. In the interim, Lugo admitted fathering at least two illegitimate children while still a Bishop.
Paraguay gained its independence in 1811. When Lugo was sworn in as president in 2008, it was that country's first experience of a ruling party's peacefully surrendering power to an elected member from the opposition party. Lugo was the first leftist president to be freely elected and the first leftist leader to gain power by any means since 1937. His cause célèbre was agrarian reform. Soon, however, he lost the support not only of the oligarchs-that-be but even of the poor and landless contingent that catapulted him to power. The last straw, evidently, was a recent bloody clash between landless protesters and police that left eleven dead among the former and six among the latter. Paraguay's house quickly brought impeachment charges by an overwhelming margin; on the very next day the Senate voted by an equally overwhelming margin to convict him of "incompetence," as permitted by Paraguayan law.
Other explanations, of course, are possible. A site called "Truth Out" suggests that Lugo is a victim of giant agribusiness, a theory I'm not always predisposed to credit (especially from a site called something like "Truth Out"), but one that receives some support from the following facts, if they are true:
First and foremost is agribusiness. None other than the infamous Monsanto is a major player in Paraguay. The company collects royalties on the transgenic soy and cotton seeds planted throughout Paraguay, and in 2011 it collected $30 billion tax-free. And 40% of the production and refining of Paraguayan soy is owned by private U.S.-based giant Cargill ($100 billion annual profits a year). Again, agribusiness giants in Paraguay enjoy broad protections from Congress and pay no taxes. *** According to Paraguayan investigative journalist Idilio Mendez Grimaldi, one of the reasons behind Lugo's removal was his cabinet's unfavorable stance toward the release of Monsanto's transgenic cotton seed into the country. After the head of the National Service for the Quality of Seeds, the Minister of Health, and the Minister of Environment did not green light the seed's release into the market, [the opposition press] led a smear campaign against accusing them of corruption.Things aren't always all that rosy here in the U.S., but I take heart from the knowledge that I'm not living in South America.