In Paraguay’s capital, Asunción, where hundreds of families live in flimsy wooden houses on the banks of the Paraguay River, there is no sign of election campaigning for the April 30 presidential election. Albino Cubas, a 41-year-old private watchman who lives with his wife and three children on municipal land after being forced away from the riverbanks by flooding, says he has no interest in voting because there are no serious proposals for poor people.
According to the 2022 census, the population of such slums increased during the pandemic from 2,500 to more than 3,000 families. Meanwhile, the flooding of the river favors the prosperous river transport of agricultural products, which benefits businessmen who enter this cheap and safe market attracted by the low tax level. The Paraguay-Paraná waterway, which flows into the Río de la Plata, is used to export an annual average of 10 million tons of soybeans, 4 million tons of corn, and 2 million tons of rice, according to the Cámara de Cereales y Oleaginosas. Ángel Devaca Pavón, dean of the Faculty of Economic Sciences of the Catholic University, affirms that Paraguay is a social and political democracy but not an economic one.
Despite this, the Gini index, which measures inequality, has improved in recent years. Pope Francis has called for a reduction of these differences and said that poverty and hunger should not be accepted in nations that enjoy the generous contributions of nature.
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