|Paraguay's 'Red Bishop' President Faces Paternity Tests
Fernando Lugo, Paraguay's President and a Former Roman Catholic Bishop, Is Facing Paternity Tests after Three Women Claimed That He Fathered Their Children
By Jeremy McDermott
Telegraph (United Kingdom)
April 23, 2009
Mr Lugo, who is known as the "red bishop" and came to power last year, admitted two weeks ago that he was the father of one of the children. But two more women have now come forward to allege that they had children by him, and even his own government has failed to dampen speculation that there may be more disclosures to come.
Mr Lugo, 57, has acknowledged his relationship with Viviana Carrillo, a glamorous 26-year-old former parishioner who has a two-year-old son, William. Unconfirmed reports have suggested that they have moved into the presidential residence.
Paraguayans were only just digesting news of their President's personal life when two more women came forward. Benigna Leguizamon, 27, who alleged that the President had fathered her six-year-old son, has filed a paternity suit, asking the courts to order Mr Lugo to take a DNA test.
A third woman, Damiana Moran, 39, alleged that her 16-month old son, Juan Pablo - named after the late Polish pope - was also the product of a relationship with Mr Lugo.
She claimed that she had met him in 2006 while working as a church outreach worker in the city of San Lorenzo.
"I fell in love because as a man, he is phenomenal," she said. "He is charismatic. He was my ideal of a man and social-political leader."
Mr Lugo resigned as a bishop five years ago. He declared his intention to leave the priesthood altogether in 2006 but Pope Benedict XVI did not accept his resignation - relieving him of his vows of chastity - until shortly before he became President last year.
Neither Mr Lugo nor his lawyers have commented on the specific claims by any of the women beyond acknowledging that he fathered Miss Carrillo's son and asking for privacy.
But Gloria Rubin, Mr Lugo's minister for women, failed to scotch speculation that more women were preparing to come forward. "Clearly they are saying that there are going to be five, six or even 16 children," she said. "If it is true that the president has that many children then the ministry will be at the service of all the women who demand paternal responsibility."
The opposition Colorado Party, whose 61-year hold on power was ended by Mr Lugo, is trying to use the scandal to remove the president, latching on to comments by Miss Carrillo who alleged that she was 16 or 17 when they first had sexual relations.
But far from damaging Mr Lugo, it has been suggested that the revelations may enhance his credentials in the macho Latin American country.
"Lugo has given proof of his virility and that is an inherent attribute ... that a part of the population expects from its leader," said Alfredo Boccia, a political commentator in Asuncion.
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