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ASUNCION - Paraguay's ousted president Fernando Lugo said Sunday he would attend a regional summit next week, in a defiant challenge to the legitimacy of the government that replaced him after his impeachment.
Lugo's reassertion of a presidential role came as country after country in Latin America distanced themselves from Federico Franco, the former vice president who was sworn in Friday.
No Latin American country has recognized the new government, and condemnation has poured in from around the hemisphere over a lightning impeachment process that gave Lugo's lawyers only two hours to prepare a defense.
Venezuela on Sunday joined Brazil and Argentina in recalling its ambassador to Asuncion in protest, and President Hugo Chavez said he would cut off oil shipments to the poor, landlocked country.
A key international test of support will come at a summit Thursday and Friday of Mercosur, a regional trading block consisting of Paraguay and its three most important trading partners -- Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay.
"We are going to be in Mercosur next week," Lugo told reporters gathered outside his house in Asuncion, calling his ouster a "parliamentary coup d'etat."
Franco's government "is a false government," Lugo added. "The public does not accept a government that has broken the institution of the republic. You cannot collaborate with a government that its people do not consider legitimate."
"We will undertake every sort of peaceful protest (to press) for the return of constitutional order that was interrupted," Lugo said.
It was not immediately known whether Franco would lead a rival delegation to the summit, but newly named Foreign Minister Jose Felix Fernandez said he was going as part of a Paraguayan delegation.
The Union of South American Nations, UNASUR, also was preparing to hold a meeting in Lima in the coming days to discuss the situation in Paraguay, which currently holds the presidency of the regional grouping.
Lugo said he had communicated with Peru's President Ollanta Humala, whose country is next in line to be president of the group.
"We are going to move up that transfer (of the presidency)... also for next week," Lugo said.
Lugo, a leftist former Catholic priest, was hauled before the Senate on Friday to face charges that he had poorly managed a land dispute that erupted in an armed clash June 15 between police and squatters.
Six police officers and 11 landless peasants were killed in an exchange of gunfire that erupted when police tried to evict the squatters from land owned by a wealthy opponent of Lugo.
The Senate voted 39-4 on Friday to impeach Lugo, who initially accepted the verdict and stepped down.
Oil-rich Venezuela, whose membership of Mercosur has been blocked by Paraguay, recalled its ambassador to Asuncion and halted oil shipments over the move, with Chavez saying he would do nothing to support "this coup."
Chavez likened the turn of events in Paraguay to the coup that toppled Honduras' president Manuel Zelaya in June 2009, which plunged the Central American country into an 18-month-long constitutional crisis.
"For us the president of Paraguay is still Fernando Lugo. We do not recognize this new government," Chavez said in Caracas.
Argentina, which has condemned the move as a thinly-veiled "coup," has also pulled its ambassador from the country, while Brazil and Uruguay have recalled their envoys for consultations. Chile, an associate member of South America's leading trading bloc, has recalled its ambassador as well.
Colombia said it was recalling its ambassador for consultations, and El Salvador said it would not recognize the new government.
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa said that at the UNASUR summit, his country would propose a return to "democratic order" in Paraguay. "We cannot gloss over this legalistic nonsense," he added.
In an interview with AFP on Saturday, Franco had said he might stay away from the Mercosur summit.
"Let's wait and see what happens in the coming days. We will take the pulse and will decide accordingly. But I think the most important thing right now is to get our house in order. Everything is very new and it is not very wise to leave the country right now."