The task facing Lugo is therefore tremendous. He inherits a profoundly corrupt and poor country, governed for 60 years by a party with a totalitarian bent, during Stroessner’s long reign, where much of the national income has been brazenly pocketed by some unscrupulous businessmen and the political classes through a mercantilist economic model that is well known in Latin America: right-wing populism. Right-wing populism is a basically demagogic monster that is hard to excise because it rots the heart of society. It combines nationalism, protectionism, and patronage, as happened in Mexico during the PRI and still happens in Argentina, where Peronism, more than a political party, is a chronic addiction to a kind of moral-dulling narcotic.
Can Mr. Lugo improve the situation in Paraguay? It depends. He might also worsen it. The former bishop has frequently stated that he favors Liberation Theology. That is very dangerous. That sociophilosophical gibberish—born of a ménage à trois between Marx, Che, and a biased interpretation of the New Testament, first circulated in the 1970s by the Peruvian priest Gustavo Gutiérrez—is to blame for the fact that a sector of the Church stained its hands with blood and irresponsibly sent hundreds of people to their death. It is no good for governing, reducing poverty or creating a more just nation. Trying to improve the problems of society with that vision of reality is like trying to cure a cancer patient by roasting him on a slow-turning spit.
Carlos Alberto, whom I had the pleasure of meeting last December, is the author of Fidel Castro and the Cuban Revolution, Twisted Roots, and El manual del perfecto idiota latinoamericano. He won’t be in the podcast but I recommend his books, which are available through Amazon.
Prior posts on Paraguay here.
In other Latin American news, Brian Faughman lists One More Reason to Expand Domestic Drilling: PEMEX’s declining oil production.
The issue of Mexico’s declining oil production is not exaggerated, and voters have rejected President Calderon’s privatization (small and modest as it was) proposal to open portions of the state petroleum monopoly to private or foreign firms.
Will the US Congress wake up and allow us to use our own natural resources? Don’t count on it.