The Priest of Paraguay


The Priest of Paraguay: Fernando Lugo and the Making of a Nation
Hugh O’Shaughnessy and Edgar Venerando Ruiz Diaz
2009, Zed Books
176 pages

THIS is an excellent and timely addition to serious collections on Latin American politics and history in which veteran journalist and writer Hugh O’Shaughnessy tells the story of how Fernando Lugo, a bishop from a deprived diocese, swept to victory, and what this will mean for his country, Latin America and the wider world. Lugo’s victory in 2008 was an earthquake in a country with the oldest one-party regime on earth where, under the 60-year dictatorship of General Alfredo Stroessner’s Colorado party, wealth and power were concentrated in the hands of a small few. His accession holds out the real prospect of a fairer future, particularly for the country’s indigenous people. O’Shaughnessy traces Lugo’s life alongside the country’s turbulent history from his early years in a family which fell victim to Stroessner to his release by the Vatican in order to follow a political calling, and examines what may lie in store for the newest member of Latin America’s “pink tide” club of socialist and social democratic leaderships. – GO’T

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