Thursday, November 5, 2009
Paraguay's president replaces military brass amid coup rumors
November 4, 2009 8:57 p.m. EST
(CNN) -- Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo on Wednesday ordered the replacement of top military commanders, a day after publicly dismissing rumors circulating the capital about a military coup.
The announcement came from the armed forces themselves, not the president's office.
In his capacity as commander-in-chief, Lugo named replacements for the heads of the army, air force and navy, according to a statement from the armed forces.
One day earlier, Lugo had addressed -- and dismissed -- reports of a possible coup.
"In recent days rumors have surfaced about the placement of bombs, new kidnappings, assaults, coup d'etats," Lugo said at a news conference Tuesday.
"We are a friendly, participative government, willing to analyze the criticisms we receive, but don't confuse that for a moment with a showing of weakness," Lugo said, adding that nothing would remove him from the presidential palace until the end of his term in 2013.
Lugo, who was elected to a five-year term last year, is a former Catholic bishop.
His victory brought an end to 61 years of one-party rule in Paraguay, but the honeymoon did not last long.
In April, Lugo admitted he fathered a child during the period he was still a priest, and that he may have possibly fathered more. The revelation, which came as a shock to most, hurt his campaign image. Calls for his resignation began then, and have continued as Lugo has struggled to push reforms through a majority-opposition legislature.
The new military commanders will be sworn-in at a ceremony Thursday morning.