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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Paraguay - Lugo's swearing-in almost eclipsed by the ceaseless spew of the U.S. propaganda machine
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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Paraguay - Lugo's swearing-in almost eclipsed by the ceaseless spew of the U.S. propaganda machine

certainly one of the bigger stories in latin america over the past year is the people-powered, democratic revolution in paraguay that put a center-left president in office, turning latin america into a virtual bastion of populism and leaving the u.s. with only one solid ally on the continent... (hint: in what is simply too massive a coincidence to be believed, that ally also just so happens to be the principal drug-mafia controlled, drug exporting nation among the lot - colombia...)

Fernando Lugo

from the bbc...
Fernando Lugo has been sworn in as Paraguay's president, ending more than 60 years of the Colorado Party's grip on power in the South American nation.

Mr Lugo addressed tens of thousands of Paraguayans, 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".

The switch in power is the latest in a series of election triumphs by leftist or centre-left leaders in the region.

Eight Latin American leaders were among the dignitaries who attended the ceremony.

Mr Lugo, who did not wear a tie but did sport a pair of sandals, addressed the crowd in both Spanish and the Guarani indigenous language from a huge stage in front of Congress.

The 57-year-old said: "Today Paraguay breaks with its reputation for corruption, breaks with the few feudal lords of the past."

The Pope in July gave his blessing for Mr Lugo to take office, granting a waiver to remove his clerical status.

The Vatican, which opposes clergy taking political office, had until then refused to accept his resignation as bishop, arguing that serving as a priest was a lifetime commitment.

Mr Lugo has indicated he will aim to steer a middle way between the kind of radical policies pursued by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the centre-left course taken by the presidents of Brazil and Chile, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Michelle Bachelet.

"I'm in the centre, like the hole in a poncho," he has said.

land reform is a challenge that has defeated populist-minded leaders more often than not...

from the buenos aires herald...

Lugo has identified his chief priority as the fight against poverty (afflicting 42 percent of over six million Paraguayans) in general and land reform in particular in a country where one percent of the population own 77 percent of the arable land.

Most analysts look at land reform from the viewpoint of whether it is feasible or not but perhaps it is worth asking whether it is desirable as ultimately in Paraguay’s best interests. Land reform could work against Paraguay’s astounding achievement in becoming the world’s fourth largest soy producer since it could destroy the economies of scale and shift the focus of cultivation. Paraguay’s two largest neighbours happen to be two of the three even bigger soy producers and it will be interesting to see which of the two Lugo and Borda [Paraguay's Minister of the Economy, Dionisio Borda] will emulate — Argentina’s grinding taxation or Brazil’s lavish subsidies?

as i sit here, a mere day's drive southeast of asunción, my heart is with lugo... he's going to need all the help he can get, particularly given the fact that, in addition to the challenge of poverty and land reform, he's also got multiple generations of a landed ruling class steeped in corruption and fully accustomed to living off the backs of the rest of the population, and you can be sure they will fight hard to keep what they perceive as rightfully theirs...

from the bbc...

The international watchdog Transparency International ranks Paraguay as one of the world's most corrupt nations.

my secret hope is that part of the land reform package will include seizing the large tract of land purchased by george w. bush as a sanctuary in case he has to make a run to avoid prosecution for war crimes...

from counterpunch, october 2006...

The land grab project of U.S. President George W. Bush in Chaco, Paraguay, has generated considerable discomfort both politically and environmentally.

The news circulating the continent about plans to buy 98,840 acres of land in Chaco, Paraguay, near the Triple Frontier (Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay) is the talk of the town in these countries.

Although official sources have not confirmed the information that is already public, the land is reportedly located in Paso de Patria, near Bolivian gas reserves and the Guarani indigenous water region, within the Triple Border.

now, wouldn't it be exceptionally SWEET if bush's land was expropriated...?

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