NYTimes on Paraguay: Left-Leaning President’s Election Gives Hope to Landless Paraguayans

The article here is pretty thorough, but, heck, I emailed them anyway:

While it's heartening to see that the NYTimes is reporting more on Paraguay, I thought to offer just a few more nuances to the already-thorough piece by Mr. Barrionuevo and Ms. Machain. First, concerning the anti-Brazilian turn: this sentiment is spread broadly and not merely held by the landless peasants. But while university students and urban workers may cast aspersions at the Brazilians, this presents a particular difficulty for the peasant movement-- they have been supported and allied with the MST (the landless workers movement) in Brazil that effectively pushed Lula into power. International ties that have strengthened the movement in Paraguay are threatened by the anti-Brazilian sentiment.

And while Lugo certainly enjoys great support among underprivileged groups in Paraguay, this is by no means homogenous. Just this morning, the urban working class has risen up in protest against a rezoning law. Moreover, Lugo faces pressures from traditional and financial elite: his vice president is from the Liberal Party (more conservative than and as old as the Colorado Party, which was ousted from the presidency in April) and soy producers are not happy with Lugo's plan to begin taxing soy exports (currently there are no export taxes on this valuable crop, meaning that Paraguay benefits little since much of the land is illegally expropriated and few Paraguayans are employed in the industry).

As for me, I'm a PhD candidate working on Fulbright sponsored dissertation research in Asunción, focusing on issues of political culture and globalization.
I particularly appreciated that their treatment of the "leftishness" of Lugo was measured and not easily equated to Chavez. The assumed homogeneity of the leftward turn in Latin America is one of my pet peeves.

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