Special Report
Cartes: One Year Later

While the president has improved the investment climate, much remains to be done.
By Mark Keller
When Horacio Cartes took office one year ago, Paraguay was in a difficult place. Following the express impeachment – which some called a coup – of President Fernando Lugo in 2012, the country was expelled from Mercosur (a customs union it belongs to with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay), as well as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR). Economic growth the previous year had been negative following an outbreak of foot and mouth disease that caused many countries to block imports of Paraguayan beef – a mainstay of the economy.
He also inherited a country with a number of challenges. The country ranks at the bottom of LBC’s Latin Infrastructure Index, making it the country with the least developed infrastructure in the region. Twenty-four percent of the population lives in poverty, and 85 percent of the country’s land is held by just 2.6 percent of the population. The country also faces ongoing security issues, with serious crime in the “tri-border” area between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil, as well as an internal insurgency from the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP, from its initials in Spanish).
Cartes won election last April with a comfortable lead, basing his qualifications on his past as a successful businessman. He promised Paraguayans a “new path.” LBC explores how Cartes has performed in his first year in office.
Cartes’ election marked the return to power of the …

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