|Senator of Paraguay|
30 June 2013
|President of Paraguay|
15 August 2008 – 22 June 2012
|Vice President||Federico Franco|
|Preceded by||Nicanor Duarte|
|Succeeded by||Federico Franco|
|President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations|
29 October 2011 – 22 June 2012
|Preceded by||Bharrat Jagdeo|
|Succeeded by||Ollanta Humala|
|Born||Fernando Armindo Lugo Méndez
30 May 1951
San Solano, Paraguay
|Political party||Patriotic Alliance for Change (2007–2010)
Frente Guasú (2010– )
|Children||Guillermo Armindo Lugo Carrillo|
|Alma mater||Catholic University of Our Lady of Asuncion|
Fernando Armindo Lugo Méndez (Spanish pronunciation: [ferˈnando arˈmindo ˈluɣo ˈmendes]; born 30 May 1951) is a Paraguayan politician who was President of Paraguay from 2008 to 2012. Previously he was a Roman Catholic priest and bishop, serving as Bishop of the Diocese of San Pedro from 1994 to 2005. He was elected as President in 2008. In 2012, he was removed from office through an impeachment process that neighboring countries deemed a coup d'état. In 2013, he was elected to the Paraguayan Senate in general elections.
His family was not particularly religious; by his own account, he never saw his father set foot in a church. However, they were active in politics, in opposition to the Stroessner dictatorship. His maternal uncle, Epifanio Méndes Fleitas, was a Colorado Party dissident and was persecuted and exiled by the regime. Fernando's father was imprisoned twenty times, and some of his elder siblings were sent into exile.
His father wanted Lugo to become a lawyer, but at 18 Lugo entered a normal school, and began teaching in a rural community. He was well accepted by the community, which was very religious, but they had no priest. He said later that he was touched by that experience, and so discovered his vocation to the Roman Catholic priesthood. At age 19 he entered a seminary operated by the Society of the Divine Word. He was ordained a priest for the society on 15 August 1977. He was sent to Ecuador, where he served as a missionary for five years. In Ecuador he learned about liberation theology.
Lugo returned to Paraguay in 1982, and after a year, the regime's police asked Church authorities to expel him from the country. The Church complied, sending him to Rome for further academic studies. Lugo came back to Paraguay in 1987, two years before the Stroessner dictatorship's fall. Lugo was ordained a bishop on 17 April 1994, and received charge of the nation's poorest diocese, in the San Pedro diocese.
Lugo resigned his ordinary from the Diocese of San Pedro on 11 January 2005. He had requested laicization in order to run for office. However, the Holy See refused the request on the grounds that bishops could not undergo laicization, and also denied him the requested canonical permission to run for civil elected office. However, after Lugo won the presidential election, the Church granted his laicization.
Without doubt it is possible to resurrect a country like Paraguay. We are people of hope, of faith, and I won't be the one killing that hope of the people. I do believe we will resurrect this country, a country deeply drowned in misery, poverty and discrimination. Because I do believe Paraguay could be different. I do not lack faith in this flock. Where there is a scream coming from the poor people, where there is sweat, where people are shoeless, we will be there. Because in such people there is a resurrection; if that exists there, then there is resurrection for Paraguay.— Fernando Lugo
Lugo jumped to the national arena by backing peasant claims for better land distribution. During 2006, opinion polls published by Diario ABC Color newspaper showed him as a possible choice for the opposition's presidential candidacy. Known as "the bishop of the poor", Lugo was seen in subsequent months as the most serious threat to the dominance of the Colorado Party on Paraguayan politics. Although he said he found the presidency of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela interesting, he made a point to distance himself from leftist leaders in Latin America, focusing more on social inequality in Paraguay. On 23 February 2007, a Prensa Latina article noted that the Paraguayan Interior Ministry offered Lugo protection because of the death threats he received during the course of his political activities.
According to a poll in February 2007, he was the leading contender in the April 2008 presidential election, with more than 37% of the voters' intention. On 29 October 2007, he registered as member of the small Christian Democratic Party of Paraguay (CDP), which allowed him to file as a candidate.
The CDP became the core of the Patriotic Alliance for Change, a coalition of more than a dozen opposition parties and social movements which backed Lugo for President. Federico Franco of the centrist Authentic Radical Liberal Party, Paraguay's largest opposition party, was the candidate for Vice President.
The legality of Lugo's candidacy was questioned, because Article 235 of the Constitution forbids clerics of any religious denomination to hold elective office, and Pope Benedict XVI had rejected Lugo's resignation from the priesthood. However, on 16 November 2007, President Nicanor Duarte Frutos (also Chairman of the Colorado Party) announced that the Party would not object to Lugo's candidacy, In July 2008, the Pope laicized Lugo, which made the question moot.
On 20 April 2008, Lugo won the election by a margin of 10 percentage points, although far short of a majority. The Colorado Party candidate, Blanca Ovelar, acknowledged that Lugo had an unassailable lead and conceded the race that same night at about 9 pm local time. Two hours later, President Duarte acknowledged that the Colorados had lost an election for the first time in 61 years. Lugo's swearing in marked the first time in Paraguay's history (the country gained independence in 1811) that a ruling party peacefully surrendered power to an elected member from the opposition. He became Paraguay's second leftist president (the first being Rafael Franco, who served from 1936 to 1937), and the first to be freely elected.
Lugo was sworn in as President on 15 August 2008, saying he would not accept the presidential salary because it "belongs to more humble people" and encouraged other politicians to refuse their salaries as well.
He initially named Alejandro Hamed as his foreign minister. During the campaign, Lugo had suggested that he would switch diplomatic relations from the Republic of China (Taiwan) to the People's Republic of China, thereby depriving the ROC of its last diplomatic ally in South America. However, after the inauguration, which had been attended by President Ma Ying-jeou from Taiwan, Lugo stated that he had no plans to switch recognition.
On 18 August 2008, Lugo named Margarita Mbywangi, a member of the Aché indigenous ethnic group, as secretary of indigenous affairs, the first indigenous person to hold such a position in Paraguay.
Two of the main promises of Lugo's presidential campaign were tackling corruption and encouraging land reform. A number of initiatives were introduced to improve the lives of Paraguay's poor, such as investments in low-income housing, the introduction of free treatment in public hospitals, and the introduction of cash transfers for Paraguay's most impoverished citizens.
- Minister of Foreign Relations: Alejandro Hamed Franco
- Minister of Finance: Dionisio Cornelio Borda (ANR)
- Minister of Internal Affairs: Rafael Filizzola (PDP)
- Minister of National Defence: Gral. (r) Luis Bareiro Spaini
- Minister of Agriculture and Livestock: Cándido Vera Bejarano (PLRA)
- Minister of Industry and Commerce: Martín Heisecke (PLRA)
- Minister of Justice and Labor: Blas Llano (PLRA)
- Minister of Public Works and Communications: Efraín Alegre (PLRA)
- Minister of Public Health and Social Welfare: Esperanza Martínez (Tekojoja)
- Minister of Education and Culture: Horacio Galeano Perrone (ANR)
- Minister of Women: Gloria Rubin
- Minister of the Environment: José Luis Casaccia (ANR)
- Secretary of Social Action: Paulino Cáceres (Tekojoja)
- Director of the National Aboriginal Institute: Margarita Mbywangi (Tekojoja)
On 15 June 2012, seventeen people were killed in a clash between landless farmers and the police who were trying to evict them; some sources consider that all this was taken as a pretext to expel Lugo. The Chamber of Deputies cited this event as well as insecurity, nepotism and a controversial land purchase to vote 76 to 1 to impeach Lugo on 21 June 2012. The Senate took up the case the next day. The impeachment was attended by a delegation of Foreign Affairs ministers from the other nations of the Union of South American Nations. The vote ended with 39 votes for Lugo's removal and four for his continuity, which ended his mandate and turned Federico Franco into the new president of Paraguay. Lugo announced that he would denounce the case to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, stating that the time to prepare a legal defence, just two hours, may be unconstitutional. The removal of Lugo was followed by demonstrations by his supporters.
The presidents of Paraguay's neighbouring countries rejected Lugo's removal from office, and compared it to a coup d'état. Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff proposed suspending Paraguay's membership in Mercosur and the Union of South American Nations. Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina, Rafael Correa of Ecuador and Leonel Fernández of the Dominican Republic announced that they would not recognize Franco as president. Condemnation also came from more conservative governments in the region, such as Colombia and Chile. Lugo's removal has drawn comparisons to the ouster of Honduras' Manuel Zelaya in 2009; like the ouster of Lugo it was defended as legal and constitutional by its supporters while being denounced as a coup across the Latin American political spectrum.
Lugo himself accepted his ouster, saying that any legal and realistic chance of reinstating him ended when the Supreme Court of Paraguay declared his impeachment and confirmed his removal, and the electoral court recognized Franco as the new president. However, he denounced it as "a congressional coup."
In the 2013 election to replace his interim presidential replacement Lugo ran as a senate candidate. He was elected as member of Paraguayan Senate representing left-wing coalition Frente Guasú.
As Lugo was unmarried during his presidency, he designated his elder sister, Mercedes Lugo, as First Lady of Paraguay.
He also studied at Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
- Orsi, Peter (2012-06-24). "Does Paraguay risk pariah status with president's ouster?". Associated Press.
- Partido Colorado se alzó como primera fuerza política en Paraguay — teleSUR
- "Frente Guasu". frenteguasu.org.py.
- "Interview with Fernando Lugo, by César Sanson for Agência Brasil de Fato"[dead link]
- Article regarding Lugo's laicization (in Spanish)[dead link]
- "Paraguay's president, ex-bishop, granted lay status". Catholic World News. 30 July 2008. Retrieved 31 July 2008.
- "Rise of the Red Bishop", The Guardian Weekly, 14 August 2008.
- "Noticias de Prensa Latina – Home". Plenglish.com. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 1 February 2012.[dead link]
- "Angus Reid Consultants". Angus-reid.com. Retrieved 1 February 2012.[dead link]
- "El ex obispo Fernando Lugo se afilió al Partido Demócrata Cristiano" (in Spanish). ABC Digital. 31 May 2008.
- "¿Quién es Federico Franco, el nuevo presidente paraguayo?" [Who is Federico Franco, the new Paraguayan president?] (in Spanish). La Nación. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Impugnación de Lugo será tratada por el comité ejecutivo de la ANR", abc.com.py (Spanish).
- "Suspended bishop cleared as presidential candidate in Paraguay". Catholic World News. 16 November 2007. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- "Paraguay: Special Dispensation for President-Elect". The New York Times. 31 July 2008.
- "Nicanor reconoce la derrota del Partido Colorado". ultimahora.
- "Latin America's left wing swells with new Paraguay president", AFP, 15 August 2008.
- "Fernando Lugo Méndez". http://topics.nytimes.com. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 5 January 2010. External link in
- "View". redOrbit. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- "The Bishop of the Poor: Paraguay's New President Fernando Lugo Ends 62 Years of Conservative Rule". Democracynow.org. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- "PARAGUAY: Mixed Results for Lugo's First 100 Days – IPS". Ipsnews.net. 25 November 2008. Retrieved 1 February 2012.
- [dead link]
- "The boy and the bishop". The Economist. 30 April 2009.
- "Lugo's cabinet sworn in". El Pueblo Presidente. 15 August 2008.[dead link] (Spanish)
- "The announced coup" (in Spanish). Brecha (Montevideo). 2012-06-22.[dead link]
- "Paraguay president faces impeachment after deadly clash", Mariano Castillo, CNN, 21 June 2012.
- "Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo faces impeachment", BBC, 21 June 2012.
- "Unasur delegation travels to Paraguay to ensure ‘democratic system integrity’". Mercopress. 21 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "'Institutional coup' removes Paraguayan president Lugo from office". Merco Press. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Paraguay: el Congreso destituyó al presidente Lugo" [Paraguay: the Congress deposed president Lugo] (in Spanish). La Nación. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Argentina 'no convalidará el golpe en Paraguay' mientras que Brasil sugirió que quedaría fuera de la Unasur y el Mercosur" [Argentina 'will not support the coup in Paraguay' and Brazil suggested that it would be left out of Unasur and Mercosur] (in Spanish). La Nación. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- Van Auken, Bill (2012-07-03). "Covert US Op: The Paraguayan Coup".
- "Paraguay likely to return long-dominant conservative party after brush with leftist bishop". 2013-04-20.[dead link]
- Reuters, 26 June 2012, Paraguay's Lugo says only miracle can reinstate him
- "Tobacco magnate wins Paraguay election". Al Jazeera. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 24 April 2013.
- "BBC News: Paraguay President Fernando Lugo diagnosed with cancer". 7 August 2010.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Fernando Lugo.|
- Fernando Lugo profile at CatholicHierarchy website
- 27 February 2007 New York Times article on Lugo's possible candidacy
- 22 February 2007 article on Lugo from Worldpress.org
- 30 December 2006 Daily (Maybe) blog on background to Lugo's presidential bid
- Lugo Wins Election at AP[dead link]
- 18 April 2008 article on Lugo and Paraguay elections from The Christian Science Monitor
- "Rise of the Red Bishop", The Guardian Weekly, 14 August 2008
|Catholic Church titles|
Oscar Páez Garcete
|Bishop of San Pedro
Adalberto Martínez Flores
|President of Paraguay
|President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations