Left-wing 'bishop of the poor' takes Paraguay's presidency

The victory of the "bishop of the poor" in Paraguay's presidential election expands a wave of leftist leadership across Latin America and further isolates the few remaining conservative governments. Once Fernando Lugo is inaugurated on Aug. 15, the only right-leaning governments in Latin America will be Colombia, El Salvador and Mexico - and arguably Peru, where a left-leaning populist party has gradually edged to the right. "The triumph of comrade Fernando Lugo is ... yet another stone in the foundation of this new Latin America that is just, sovereign, independent - and why not, socialist," Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa gushed during a visit from Argentina's new leftist President Cristina Fernandez. In an interview Monday with The Associated Press, hours after toppling the world's longest-ruling party, Lugo repeated his distaste for labels: "I'm not of the left, nor of the right." But he has said that Marxist-influenced liberation theology inspired his advocacy for the poor, and his victory clearly pushes Paraguay toward the left from the Colorado Party, which has ruled through dictatorship and democracy since 1947, including 35 years under brutal anti-communist Gen. Alfredo Stroessner.