Horacio Cartes has been sworn in as the president of Paraguay in a ceremony in the capital, Asuncion.
In his inaugural speech, multi-millionaire businessman Horacio Cartes, of the centre-right Colorado Party, promised to wage war on poverty.
Paraguay is one of the poorest countries in South America.
Horacio Cartes, a relative newcomer to politics who had not voted before 2008, was elected with 45.8% of the ballots in April.
He defeated his closest rival, the Liberal Efrain Alegre, by nine percentage points.
“I’m not in politics to make a career of it or become wealthier,” Horacio Cartes, who is one of Paraguay’s richest men, said.
“I’m in politics to serve my people, improve the future of new generations and treasure our identity as a free, independent and sovereign people,” he added.
He also promised to “put the fatherland first” and to “create opportunities for all” to combat Paraguay’s rampant inequality.
Horacio Cartes, a relative newcomer to politics who had not voted before 2008, was elected with 45.8 percent of the ballots in April
Horacio Cartes had campaigned on a platform of poverty reduction and job creation.
Choosing his cabinet, he broke with the established tradition of naming senior party members to key posts, instead choosing technocrats and business people.
His Colorado Party was in power for 60 years and played a key part in supporting the military rule of General Alfredo Stroessner from 1954 to 1989.
In 2008, it was beaten by a left-wing coalition headed by Fernando Lugo.
Fernando Lugo was controversially impeached by Congress over his handling of a land eviction in which 17 people died.
The impeachment process took less than 48 hours and was deemed unfair by many of Paraguay’s neighbors and led to the country’s exclusion from the Mercosur trading bloc.
The presidents of the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela) said in July that they would lift the suspension after Horacio Cartes’ inauguration.
However, Paraguay said it would not return to the Mercosur fold as long as Venezuela held its rotating presidency.
Paraguay has objected to Venezuela’s inclusion in the trading bloc.
Asuncion says that a new member can only be included after a unanimous vote and argues that such a vote should not have been held while Paraguay was suspended.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was not invited to Horacio Cartes’ inauguration.
Foreign Minister Eladio Loizaga said he would rather deal with Paraguay’s neighbors individually at first.
“We have pending issues with Argentina, with Uruguay; we have to recompose all that,” he said.
“Mercosur will be later because our priority is the bilateral relations,” he added.
Venezuela holds Mercosur’s rotating presidency until July 2014.
Horacio Cartes has been elected as the new president of Paraguay.
Wealthy businessman and political newcomer Horacio Cartes beat the Liberal Party’s Efrain Alegre by nine percentage points.
The result restores the Colorado Party to power after its defeat by the left-wing candidate Fernando Lugo in 2008.
Horacio Cartes faces the challenge of fighting high levels of poverty and of ending the country’s isolation in the region following last year’s disputed impeachment of President Fernando Lugo.
Regional bodies Mercosur and Unasur suspended Paraguay over the issue.
Horacio Cartes won 45.8% of the votes, compared to 36.9% for Efrain Alegre of the governing Liberal Party. Efrain Alegre conceded defeat shortly after the results were announced.
In his victory speech, Horacio Cartes said that that he would lead Paraguay in “a new direction”.
With tears in his eyes and the Paraguayan flag wrapped around his neck, Horacio Cartes said he would be the president of all Paraguayans.
“I didn’t come to work alone, this country is going to make strong progress once we all realize we have to work together,” he said.
Horacio Cartes has been elected as the new president of Paraguay
Horacio Cartes is a newcomer to politics, who only joined the Colorado Party in 2009.
He is a powerful businessman with controlling stakes in dozens of companies, including a bank, Paraguay’s largest tobacco company and a variety of agricultural businesses.
He is also the chairman of Libertador Football Club, which won last year’s Paraguayan championship.
Horacio Cartes was inspired to join politics in 2009 because he was “disappointed and restless about the political course of Paraguay under a left-oriented-Chavista-inspired government”, he said, referring to the government of President Fernando Lugo and its closeness to the late leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez.
During his campaign, Horacio Cartes had to confront accusations of fraud and links with drug trafficking.
He dismissed them all, saying that while he had spent time in prison on allegations of fraud in 1989, all charges against him had eventually been dropped.
Horacio Cartes has also been accused of homophobia after telling a radio station that talk of legalizing same-sex marriage made him think of “the end of the world”.
Fellow Colorado members have described him as “efficient” and determined to give the Colorado Party a “fresh start”.
The party, which came to power in 1947, governed Paraguay for 60 years. It played a key part in supporting the military rule of General Alfredo Stroessner from 1954 to 1989.
In 2008, it was beaten by a left-wing coalition headed by Fernando Lugo.
Fernando Lugo was controversially impeached in June 2012.
The move followed a land eviction at a farm that led to the deaths of 11 farmers and six police officers.
The incident sparked a nationwide outcry and the opposition declared President Fernando Lugo responsible.
Fernando Lugo was replaced by Vice-President Federico Franco of the Liberal Party in less than 48 hours.
Neighboring countries recalled their diplomats calling the impeachment a “congressional coup”.
Paraguay was suspended from regional trade organization Mercosur and Unasur.
Horacio Cartes said he would make rejoining them one of his priorities.
On Monday, Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, who currently holds the rotating presidency of Mercosur, invited Horacio Cortes to attend the next Mercosur meeting in June.
An orchestra of young musicians from a Paraguayan slum has been touring South America, using instruments constructed entirely from recycled materials.
They pulled them from the rubbish dump around their homes.
Landfill Harmonic is heartwarming film featuring a unique orchestra in Paraguay made up entirely of instruments made from scrap heap rubbish.
The Recycled Orchestra is the creation of Favio Chávez, a landfill worker and musician from Paraguay.
The film, a teaser for which has been published online, features Favio Chávez and an inspiring group of children beating the odds in the poverty stricken town of Cateura.
Cateura exists virtually on top of a landfill site where residents make their livings recycling and selling other people’s rubbish.
An orchestra of young musicians from a Paraguayan slum has been touring South America, using instruments constructed entirely from recycled materials
Situated along the banks of the Paraguay River, 1,500 tons of waste is dumped in the area each day.
But despite the critical levels of pollution and the threat to their health residents of Cateura manage to find the most positive of uses for the rubbish.
Inspired to do something to help the impoverished families, Favio Chávez began using the trash in the landfill to create instruments for the children.
“One day it occurred to me to teach music to the children of the recyclers and use my personal instruments,” explains 36 year-old Favio Chávez, who worked as an ecological technician at the landfill.
“But it got to the point that there were too many students and not enough supply. So that’s when I decided to experiment and try to actually create a few.”
The documentary is directed by Graham Townsley.
The instruments in the orchestra are made from a whole range of old and broken electrical appliances. By using them whole or in part they have been put back together to create new musical instruments that have a unique sound.