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Paraguay: President Lugo to Forgo Salary

Fernando Lugo's presidency started with an announcement that he would forgo his monthly salary. “I don't need that salary, which belongs to the poor,” said Lugo. Different local bloggers see things differently, as one applauds the decision and another wonders how Lugo will pay for his own expenses.

Carlos Rodríguez of Rescatar [es] summarizes the reactions of some in the press who are downplaying the gesture by pointing out that the former priest does not have a wife or children to support, while others wonder whether he will spend the reserved funds at his disposition. However, Rodríguez sees things in a different light:

En ese contexto, el anuncio de Lugo de renunciar a su salario, nosotros lo interpretamos como un mensaje de “no vengo por el dinero”.
Trascendente y crucial mensaje en una nación en la que un elevado porcentaje de políticos, elevadísimo más bien, se lanza al ruedo en busca de poder político para alcanzar lo más pronto posible el poder económico, justamente robando.

In this context of Lugo's announcement to forgo his salary, we see it as his message that “I am not here for money.” It is a transcendent and crucial message in a country where a high, a very high, percentage of politicians, enter the field in search of political power to reach economic power as soon as possible, by stealing.

However, Jorge Torres Romero of Detrás del Papel [es] does not quite see things the same way and thinks it was not a smart move:

Al día siguiente de este anuncio de Lugo, algunos medios de prensa lanzaron la pregunta si quien se animaba seguir el ejemplo del presidente. Obviamente, nadie. Federico Franco, por ejemplo, aclaró que tiene una familia que mantener y vaya razón más que suficiente para no desprenderse de ese derecho legítimo de cobrar su salario.

¿De qué va vivir el presidente?¿Quién pagará por su ropa, su comida y otros gastos que pueda tener?¿Es tanto el ahorro que tiene?¿Vivirá de la renta de sus inmuebles?¿Estará pagando sus impuestos? ¿O esperará la colaboración, los regalos e invitaciones de los amigos?

The day after Lugo's announcment, some members of the press asked the question of who is willing to follow the example of the president. Obviously, no one. Federico Franco (the new Vice-President), for example, said that he has a family to support and that he won't give up his legitimate right to earn a salary.

What will the president live off of? Who will pay for his clothes, his food, and other expenses that he might have? Does he have that much in savings? Will he live off the rent from his properties? Will he pay his taxes? Or will he wait for help, gifts and invitations from friends?

Thumbnail picture by Fernando Lugo APC and used under a Creative Commons license.

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