Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Wednesday, 3 September 2008 12:13 UK

Paraguay backed amid plot fears

President Fernando Lugo speaking on 1 Sep
President Lugo won office on a promise to bring reform

Latin American leaders have rallied behind Paraguay's new president, Fernando Lugo, after he said he was the target of a possible coup plot.

The Organisation of American States (OAS) said it was deeply concerned and supported Mr Lugo's leadership.

Mr Lugo took office last month, ending six decades of Colorado Party rule.

He has accused retired general Lino Oviedo and former president Nicanor Duarte of involvement in the alleged conspiracy. Both have denied this.

Paraguay has been best by political instability for the past 20 years.

On Monday, President Lugo accused his predecessor Mr Duarte and former Gen Oviedo of masterminding a conspiracy against his government.

Both rejected the accusations, saying advisers close to the president could be making the claims for their own political ends.

Reform promise

Reacting to the coup plot allegations, the head of the Organisation of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, voiced his "deep concern" and called on Paraguay's political groupings to overcome their differences.

Ambassadors from nine South American nations and Mexico, as well as the OAS, voiced their backing for Mr Lugo and his government during a meeting called by the Paraguayan foreign minister, Alejandro Hamed.

Mr Lugo was sworn in on 15 August, promising to tackle corruption and deliver land reform.

The former bishop, who was elected in April, said the task of transforming Paraguay was not "impossible".

But whatever the truth of the coup allegations, they highlight Mr Lugo's political vulnerability, says BBC Americas Editor Warren Bull.

Last week, Mr Lugo said the opposition-dominated Congress was blocking his reform programme and that he was considering resorting to a referendum to break the deadlock.

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Country profile: Paraguay
15 Aug 08 |  Country profiles
Profile: Fernando Lugo
14 Aug 08 |  Americas

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