Beg to Differ: Disagreeing with BBC Mundo's Take on the Paraguayan Election

Adrián Fernandez, BBC Mundo's editor in Miami, writes that, "It doesn't matter who wins the presidential election in Paraguay this coming Sunday, April 20; the winner is opening a new door in the political history of the country." If the official candidate, Blanca Ovelar, wins, he argues, it will be the first female president in the country's history. On the other hand, if one of the many opposition candidates wins, it'll be a change in the ruling party for the first time in nearly a century; and if the leading opposition candidate, Fernando Lugo, wins, it'll be the first time in Latin America that a former bishop becomes president.

The problem I see with this is that, if the Colorado party succeeds in stacking the polls by inventing ballots and voters (which is what it looks like has been happening) and thereby steals the election, I wonder about the value of a female president whose presidency is stolen, against the democratic wishes of the population. It's a troubling argument to make that the progressive gender politics implied trumps things like: rule of law, the will of the people, democracy.

I was also surprised that the BBC didn't mention the fragility of Paraguay's democracy-- with the ever present threat of a military coup, especially if an opposition candidate who, unlike Lino Oviedo (who apparently is flying to the U.S. today in a media blitz to meet with President Bush) was never part of the political and military ruling establishment. Current President Duarte has made calls to defend the Colorado vote "even with your life."

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