By: James Smith
One of our favorite preoccupations here at the Daily Lounge has been tracking the various governmental scandals bedeviling Heads of State across the globe, like when the President of Hungary was forced to resign over accusations that he had plagiarized his doctoral dissertation. Well, our world’s leaders just seem to keep finding new ways to disgrace themselves, as recent news out of Paraguay has demonstrated. This time, Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo, a former Roman Catholic bishop, has admitted to fathering a child out of wedlock – and that the child was conceived while he was still a member of the clergy. Jeez, that's pretty bad.
Actually, this isn’t the first time that Lugo has had this problem: the mother, Narcisa de la Cruz, is the fourth woman to accuse Lugo of being the father of her child, and the second that Lugo has confirmed. According to de la Cruz, the boy was conceived when she and Lugo began an affair when she came to him for spiritual guidance during his tenure as a bishop – and while she was still married. Lugo had been providing support for the boy anonymously for some time. Okay, that's really bad.
Will the revelation have any effect on Lugo’s political career? Surprisingly, it appears not: Lugo’s Presidential term is up next August, and constitutional term limits will prevent him from seeking election again. Meanwhile, he’s been greeted with what seems to an American observer to be surprisingly little outrage, with a number of officials even praising Lugo for doing the right thing in recognizing the boy’s paternity. Wow.
Perhaps that lack of outcry has to do with the familiarity of Paraguayans with their President’s foibles. When his first love child was discovered, back in 2009, an opposition senator apparently called, not for his resignation, but for his excommunication from the Catholic Church – a sign of how deeply the Church penetrates Paraguayan society. By then, however, he’d already left the clergy: Lugo left the ministry in 2008, presumably due to the apparent conflict with his political career.
[Pic via Flickr – World Economic Forum]