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MexFiles endorses the candidate for change…

21 March 2008

The Presidential election has come down to a cranky old ex-military guy (with ties to the Bush inner circle), the party establishment backed woman and the candidate for change who has to deal with the fallout from his long-time affiliation with his church.

Paraguay’s Presidential elections are 20 April, and former Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo stands a fair chance of adding to the list of leftist leaders elected in Latin America ever since  George W. trashed the reputation of democratic capitalism:

Now that much of Latin America has shifted to the left, Paraguay remains a key Washington ally. The country’s political landscape continues to be dominated by the Colorado Party, which has been in power for 61 years, the longest continuous rule of any political party in the world. This enormous political machine, much of it built and consolidated during the 35-year military dictatorship (1954–89) of General Alfredo Stroessner, still permeates every inch of Paraguayan society. Yet as the panorama of candidates for the April presidential election makes clear, a new right-wing faction is emerging within the party, pledging to cut the umbilical cord with the past.

The two main contenders for the Colorado Party’s nomination best represent this new Paraguayan right: Blanca Ovelar, a former minister of education, and Luis Castiglioni, who renounced his post as vice president in October in order to run.

Ovelar attacked corruption, promising “systematic, rigorous, and professional” fiscal control. But she also used new populist rhetoric. “My fight and my government have and will have a clear objective, a well-identified enemy: poverty,” she declared on her blog. (More than half of the Paraguayan population lives under the poverty line.)

Castiglioni, on the other hand, is a close Washington ally and promoter of neoliberal policies. Washington has cultivated close ties with him, especially on trade. On a trip to the United States in 2005, Castiglioni was photographed in chummy meetings with Roger Noriega, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the director of the FBI.

In contrast to the other candidates, Fernando Lugo, the bearded former bishop running for president, represents a link to the new left in Latin America. Yet his base comprises a wide coalition of opposition forces whose interests probably don’t coincide past a rejection of Colorado rule.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. 22 March 2008 10:14 am

    Isn’t Paraguay where some members of the Bush family bought a giant ranch a couple years ago. With one of the worlds biggest aquifers under it. They must be hoping that Paraguay stays “conservative”. They might have to go into exile down there some day.

  2. 26 March 2008 9:29 am

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