Friday, August 22, 2008

That's Quite a Way to Kick Off a New Presidential Administration

Well, Fernando Lugo certainly has made an interesting move in his first week as President of Paraguay:

The new Paraguayan President, Fernando Lugo, has replaced the commanders of the army, navy, and air force. The dismissals follow the removal earlier this week of the head of the national police by Mr Lugo - a centre-left former Roman Catholic bishop.[...] Presidential spokesman Augusto Dos Santos told the Associated Press that Mr Lugo, who was sworn in on 15 August, had signed 30 decrees naming new commanders of the armed forces.[...] The former bishop said soldiers would carry out humanitarian tasks for the poor and "never again ... be used to repress or harass" people."

Given that Paraguay had the longest dictatorship of any South American country in the 20th century, and that even after Stroessner was removed the military remained in control for another four years, Lugo's move can be seen as nothing less than wonderful. I don't believe the military was any grave threat to his administration, but cleaning house in an effort to completely remold the military's role in Paraguay is an excellent way to start his administration.