It seems like an impossible task for Paraguay to bury the legacy of Alfredo Stroessner’s dictatorship. Just every other election since 1946 — apart from the spell of former bishop Fernando Lugo (2008-2012), which ended in a parliamentary coup — Paraguayans chose on Sunday the Partido Colorado candidate Mario Abdo Benítez, the namesake of Stroessner’s former right-hand man.
Efraín Alegre and Leo Rubin, the Alianza Ganar candidates for president and vice president, respectively, were not successful. The duo embodied the same alliance, between Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico and Frente Guasú, that led Lugo to victory back in 2008. The two defeated candidates lost by just 3.7 percent, which marks the smallest margin since the country returned to democracy in 1989.
Rubin, a local journalist devoted to environmental protection and the defense of the indigenous, Hindu and vegetarian population, was well aware of the uphill battle involved in defeating a political powerhouse like Partido Colorado. It was in the name of this challenge that he called for the recreation of the alliance that was broken following the coup d’état.