Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo Has Cancer.

Fernando Lugo, earlier this week. Photo: Ultima Hora

Fernando Lugo, the leftist ex-Bishop whose election unseated the Colorado Party for the first time in six decades, has non-Hodkin's lymphoma. Paraguay's Minister of Health held a press conference yesterday to make the announcement following a biopsy conducted this past Wednesday. Lugo will travel to S√£o Paulo on Tuesday to conduct tests and develop a course of action.

So, that's the news. Now, the repercussions:

* If I know anything about Paraguayan politics, I'd wager that someone somewhere is saying "This is a fake... Lugo has made up this story in order to get sympathy votes. Want proof? He's going to Brazil for treatment, not here, where Paraguayans can see whether or not he's ill. Be on the look out for photos of Lugo frolicking on Ipanema with supermodels!"

* Vice President Federico Franco, from the Liberal Party, will return to Paraguay earlier than he'd planned--he's in Colombia to attend the inauguration of Juan Manuel Santos.

* Speaking of rumors, I bet someone is saying, "The Liberales gave him cancer so that Federico would become president!"

* So far, no word of sympathy or "get well soon!" from the other parties.

* In fact, people in politics are already talking about how to decide Lugo's successor, if he needs to resign. Like sharks who smell blood in the water, the curious silence from political sectors around the country doesn't make me think that people are "meh" about this, but questioning what this means and how to turn this to advantage.

* Is the lack of even a token of sympathy because the municipal elections are coming up and opposition parties don't want to give the government any ground or sympathy votes?

* By the way, the Paraguayan Constitution already says who should be Lugo's successor--the Vice President. The tricky thing is that a) the Colorado Party really doesn't want a Liberal in the presidency... it'll accept a lefty ex-Bishop any day over a Liberal; b) it's constitutionally unclear who should be appointed Vice President in the event that Federico has to step in for Lugo-- most likely a popular election will be held. The likely winner of an election is the Colorado Party... but what Colorado politician who can win a national election will want to waste his efforts on just becoming the Vice President of a Liberal? But! If a lesser Colorado does win, then he becomes a major contender for the 2013 presidential elections and thus a threat to the obvious Colorado candidate Luis Castiglioni.

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One Response to Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo Has Cancer.

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