In Paraguay, Education Minister Enrique Riera reiterated that the constitution of the South American republic recognizes the traditional definition of the human family: “a father, mother, and children.” He gave assurances that the government of Paraguay has rejected educational and other materials leftover from the socialist government of President Fernando Lugo, who was impeached and ejected from office in 2013.

In a recent press conference in Asuncion, Riera deplored the resulting “confusion” and severe criticism that resulted when the former government broadcast to schools the ideology that gender is a social construct and that men and women are not born but are identities that are learned. In particular, Riera identified “Somos Gay” [We are Gay] as a pressure group that worked in concert with the Lugo government under contract.

“The previous government signed an agreement with an organization known as Somos Gay: an agreement with the Office of Continuing Education. They produced educational materials during that period that continued in use. Even today we had some of those materials on the web page,” said Riera at the press conference. Riera said that his office decided to take them down and review them because there is a phrase in the materials that has caused the controversy. The official said that phrase “literally says that gender is a social construct.”

“I want to say that the Ministry of Education is founded in Article 52 of the National Constitution, on a traditional family, tradicional values, with a father, a mother, and children. This is my personal position as well and while naturally we respect different opinions, we will not teach them in the public schools,” said Riera.

Article 52 of Paraguay’s constitution establishes that “the union in matrimony of a man and woman is one of the fundamental components of the formation of the family.” Riera said that President Horacio Cartes was made aware of the controversy over the educational materials when alerted by social media.

The leftist president, Fernando Lugo -- a former Catholic bishop -- was impeached by Paraguay’s national congress after he weathered accusations of involvement in protests that led to the shooting deaths of 8 police officers and 9 farmers in a protest over land tenure. In addition, there were at least two women who claimed that he had fathered their children. Despite complaints by Lugo’s supporters and the international left, the Organization of American States declared that his impeachment was legal according to Paraguay’s constitution. Lugo was laicized by the Catholic Church.
 

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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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