By Nikolas Kozloff.
For isolated and impoverished countries, it can sometimes prove difficult to pursue an independent foreign policy which challenges Washington's traditional sphere of influence. Take, for example, tiny Paraguay which has recently been convulsed in political instability. Four years ago, Fernando Lugo was elected president after pledging to take on political and economic elites on behalf of Paraguay's poor. A former Bishop, Lugo promised to tackle pressing social problems like land reform. On the international front too, Lugo was controversial: though he continued to maintain friendly ties to the U.S., he also made overtures toward the populist regime of Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.