Ex-Bishop Fernando Lugo won the presidential elections in Paraguay, ending the 61-year reign of the fascist Colorado Party. Lugo won with the help of the Patriotic Alliance for Change, including the center-right Liberal Party, center-left parties, as well as several socialist parties including PMAS (Party of the Movement Towards Socialism, Hugo Chavez’ allies) and several social movements of farmers and indigenous groups (including Tekojoja).
Many workers and activists believe that the working class will benefit from this ouster of Colorado. Not true! Lugo’s win signals a change in the style of the oppressor, nothing more. His politics resemble those of Chavez in Venezuela and Lula in Brazil, who have the image of being pro-working class, but are really just another face of the ruling class. Lugo owes a debt to many capitalist elements among his allies in the Patriotic Alliance for Change and is not likely to be able to even accomplish modest reforms. Face it –– capitalism is bigger than any one candidate, no matter how sincere he or she may be about social change.
It’s the same in the U.S. with Obama, Clinton and McCain. Rather than build illusions in the system, workers and activists should follow the policy of “Don’t Vote! Revolt!”
The big issue that Lugo will take on is renegotiating contracts involving two hydroelectric plants –– Itaipu (with Brazil) and Yacyreta (with Argentina). The Paraguayan government receives less than the typical world price for the electricity they sell and Lugo has promised that the revenue received from better deals with Brazil and Argentina will help fund social programs, including health care. (Dengue and yellow fever are now common in Paraguay). We have seen, however, time after time, that such reform promises rapidly go out the window after a “reformer” is elected, as the ruling capitalist class asserts its needs over those of the masses.
Immediately after winning the election, Lugo spoke with Hugo Chavez and said that he intends to join UNASUR, an economic bloc formed by Chavez. Then he declared his desire to meet with China, signaling an opening to Chinese imperialism to play off against U.S. imperialism and curry favor with his socialist backers in the Patriotic Union for Change. But trading one imperialist for another is not progress!
Paraguay is a geopolitically strategic country finding itself between Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina and Bolivia, while at the same time sitting on top of one of the world’s largest supplies of fresh water –– the Guarani Aquifer. Many large and small imperialists, including Brazil, the U.S., Venezuela, China and the European Union, want a piece of Paraguay’s resources and labor! Instead of playing ball with imperialists, revolutionary workers should break with all politicians and build the PLP, an independent revolutionary communist party that calls for the complete destruction of capitalism. No deals — Lugo is just another puppet of the capitalists and their elites — Workers must build the PLP and make revolution if the future is going to be bright!