Amid several troubled elections around the globe this year, April's peaceful vote ending 61 years of one-party rule in Paraguay was a hopeful sign for the democratic process and an example for other nations seeking political change.
President Fernando Lugo is now building on that promise with a campaign to root out government corruption. It's an effort that the United States is committed to aid in any way that it can.
"There's nothing more discouraging than to have the government of a people steal their money," President George Bush told Mr. Lugo after a meeting at the White House this week. "And so we stand with you. It's a hard job, but you bring the right spirit to it."
Under Paraguay's former long-time rulers, the government was frequently cited for corruption and patronage politics, a situation that stifled civil society and economic development. Eventually this spawned a reform movement that overturned the old order with an electoral turnout that was enviable even for many more advanced democracies.
In this week's meeting, President Bush pledged to help Paraguay achieve its hopes for a free, democratic and prosperous nation. As a part of this commitment, the U.S. will provide an additional 10 million dollars over the next year to implement health initiatives and promote economic growth.