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How Many Children Did Paraguay’s President Father When He Was A Catholic Bishop?

President Fernando Lugo has recognized his second child from his days as a supposedly celibate Catholic man of the cloth. Other paternity suits from various women are outstanding. Some estimates of the number of offspring might make a rock star blush.

Lugo (center) has a unique biography (Juan Alberto Perez)
Lugo (center) has a unique biography (Juan Alberto Perez)
Hugo Olazar

ASUNCION - The President of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, has recognized paternity of a second child conceived while he was a Catholic bishop in San Pedro.

The announcement on Tuesday by Lugo's lawyer that the president is the father of a now 10-year-old boy follows the public confession in 2009 that the bishop-turned-politician had a son with another woman. And there are still two pending paternity cases, from another two women, from Lugo's time as a supposedly celibate man of the cloth. One of the women waiting for a decision on a paternity case said that the President has another three sons, all with different women, in the department of San Pedro, the poorest region in Paraguay.

Lugo became a Catholic priest in 1977, and rose through the Church hierarchy, serving in Ecuador, Rome and Paraguay. He remained a bishop until 2008, when his election to office as president prompted his laicization.

The President's lawyer, Marcos Fariña, surprised journalists in the presidential palace with his announcement. "The President gave me instructions to start, today, the legal procedures to confirm paternity of the boy, whose name is Angel and whose mother is Narcisa de la Cruz de Zarate. She is 42 years old and is a nurse," he said.

Striking resemblance

Angel has his step-father's last name, Zarate, Fariña said. The civil registry assigned paternity to her current husband, with whom she has four children, Fariña said, adding that he has already contacted the boy's mother to annul her husband's paternity and replace Angel's last name with Lugo.

Responding to questions on why Lugo did not recognize paternity earlier, Fariña said "Because there was no legitimate way to do so, since he had his step-father's last name, and the mother did not compel him to do so." He also added that a paternity test is not needed when "both people agree."

"The kid knew that his dad wasn't going to reject him. He can't deny paternity, because they really look alike," de la Cruz said when she heard of the president's decision. She said that when Angel found out that Lugo had accepted paternity, he said, "You see, mom, dad loves me."

De la Cruz, a nurse, said that she lied in 2009 when she denied, to journalists, having a child with the president. She said she lied because "my son has never wanted for anything." She currently receives $650 dollars a month from Lugo.

It was in 2009, a year after Lugo's election as president, that the scandals began. In April of that year, just before Easter, Lugo stopped a planned paternity suit from Viviana Carrillo in exchange for admitting paternity of her son, who was born in May 2007. Two more paternity suits were filed against Lugo in May 2009, both of which are still pending. The government has used judicial ploys to delay resolution of both cases.

Benigna Leguizamon, one of the two women with pending paternity suits, said "I know of three more sons in San Pedro. I hope that those women (whose last names she cited) file suits as we have. More children will keep appearing. They say that he has something like 18." One of those supposed offspring has apparently moved to Spain, and another one is Ecuadorian, conceived during Lugo's time as a priest in Quito.

Read the original article in Spanish

Photo - Juan Alberto Perez

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