Paraguayan lawmakers on Friday impeached Lugo, 61, over his handling of a deadly land dispute.
In a 39-to-4 vote, senators found Lugo, a former Catholic priest with a string of outstanding paternity cases, guilty of performing his duties badly during the dispute last week that left 17 people dead.
An hour later, to cheers inside Congress and angry clashes outside, 49-year-old vice president Federico Franco was sworn in as the new leader of one of Latin America’s poorest nations.
A torrent of furious responses poured in from across the region, not just from traditional leftist allies like Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela, but also from centrist and right-wing governments Argentina and Chile.
“Without any doubt there has been a coup d’etat in Paraguay. It is unacceptable.” Argentina’s Kirchner said.
She said the issue would be discussed next week at a summit of the South American trade bloc Mercosur, which includes Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay.
Even in Santiago, where Sebastian Pinera is Chile’s first right-wing president since the late dictator Augusto Pinochet left office, there was disbelief at the move.
The impeachment “did not fulfill the minimum requirements for this type of procedure,” Alfredo Moreno, Chile’s foreign minister, said on national television.