Paraguay's ex-president begins exile in Brazil
March 30, 1999
Cubas resigned Sunday after being widely blamed for the March 23 assassination of Vice President Luis Maria Argana. The Brazilian government granted him asylum Monday, just hours after his political mentor, Gen. Lino Oviedo, won asylum in Argentina.
Brazil also hosts Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, who ruled Paraguay as dictator for 35 years before a coup toppled his government in 1989.
"It has been a long tradition in Latin America, since the 1920s, when there were many dictators in the region, and I feel it very important to preserve it," Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Felipe Lampreia said.
Cubas drew the ire of members of his own Colorado Party last August by refusing to jail Oviedo, who was convicted of leading a 1996 coup against then-president Juan Carlos Wasmosy.
Argana, who was gunned down when he arrived for work, was loudly critical of Cubas' decision and led a Colorado Party faction opposed to the president.
Cubas was Oviedo's vice presidential running mate during 1998 elections. He stepped in for the general as the party's presidential candidate after Oviedo was sentenced to 10 years in jail last spring.
Following Argana's assassination, Paraguay's Congress voted to impeach Cubas. Violence between Cubas supporters and opponents erupted Friday, killing six people and injuring more than 200.
Oviedo fled to Argentina after Cubas resigned, and the former president took refuge in the Brazilian embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay, where he requested asylum.
Senate President Luis Gonzalez Macchi was sworn in as Paraguay's president Sunday. The Paraguayan army threw its support behind him, quelling fears of a coup in the struggling democracy.
But Macchi still faces the same problems that plagued Paraguay during Cubas' short rule -- rising unemployment, a sluggish economy and widespread corruption.
Cubas, his wife and two daughters arrived Tuesday in Brazil's Santa Catarina state, where he reportedly owns an apartment north of Florianopolis, the state capital.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Embattled Paraguayan president orders probe into deadly riots
Presidencia de la Republica del Paraguay (in Spanish)
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