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PARAGUAY: Cartes Election Victory Good for Business

Bottom Line: The victory of Colorado Party candidate Horacio Cartes in Paraguay’s presidential elections on 21 April sets the stage for a strengthening of the oil and gas industry and a more attractive atmosphere for foreign investors.

Analysis: Cartes is a consummate businessman. His dossier is an impressive one: He founded Banco Amambay, one of the country’s largest financial institutions, as well as tobacco and food and beverage companies including Tabacos del Paraguay, Compañía Agrotabacalera del Paraguay, Bebidas del Paraguay, Agrocitrus del Paraguay, Ganadera Sofia, Ganadera Chajha and Ganadera Las Pampas. While he says he has divested himself of any business interests that present a conflict of interest as president, he clearly has many contacts in the business world inside and outside Paraguay. Among his closest advisors are his closest business associates—namely, Juan Carlos Lopez Moreira and conservative Chilean politician Francisco Javier Cuadra.

In 2001, Cartes became President of Club Libertad, one of the premiere professional soccer teams in Paraguay. Under Cartes’ leadership the team won the national championship seven times and reached the semi-finals of South America’s Copa Libertadores in 2006. Cartes was not involved in politics until 2009, a fact the long-dominant Colorado Party chose to frame as their candidate being a “fresh start.”

During his campaign Cartes repeatedly…

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