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People & Power
Priest to President?
Can one man make a difference in South America's most corrupt country?
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2008 12:29 GMT

Is Fernando Lugo Paraguay's chance for real change?
Paraguay today is believed to be among the three most corrupt countries in the world, and frequently ranks as the most corrupt nation in South America.

Its central location means that its economy has benefited largely from large-scale contraband, operated by local mafias from neighbouring countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia.

For more than 60 years, only one political party has governed Paraguay - the Colorado Party - and for 35 of those years the country was ruled by General Stroessner, the Cold War era dictator who is believed to have embezzled up to $300m. 

The upcoming presidential elections in April, however, are giving many Paraguayans hope for real change.

Fernando Lugo is a former bishop who is promising to bridge the ever-increasing gap between rich and poor and finally move away from the hard-line anti-communist policies of the Colorado Party and implement a neo-socialist government.

His opponents include Lino Oviedo, a highly controversial ex-army general who has recently been released from prison after serving a sentence for insurgency, and Blanca Ovelar, of the ruling Colorado Party, who declares herself to be a bold revolutionary "in a clearly macho country".

People & Power reports from Paraguay.

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This episode of People & Power airs from Sunday, February 24, 2008


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