Paraguay is among the poorest nations in South America and during the past 61 years the country has been ruled by wealthy landowners and the urban elite. The election of Fernando Lugo hopefully marks a birth of a new era in which poor people finally have someone in authority who represents their interests. The new president returned to the province where he worked for 11 years as a bishop and pledged to raise living standards by eradicating poverty and ending corruption. “This is where I learned to love the peasant, the indigenous people, and to admire the efforts to excel despite adverse conditions. He was accompanied by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela who promised to send Paraguay over 400,000 barrels of oil to deal with fuel shortages.
The wealthy and powerful of Paraguay will not readily surrender power, and Lugo’s association with Chavez is only bound to arouse their fury. Lugo is under tremendous pressure from both right and left wing elements of the political spectrum. The poor of Paraguay deserve a better life and it is vital for Lugo to move toward that goal without distractions created by Hugo Chavez who has worked to destroy opposition within Venezuela. If the elite of Paraguay fear Lugo will adopt such measures they will proceed with an overthrow of the Paraguay government.