Paraguay’s Indian cabinet member dismissed

Asuncioin, Paraguay (AP) 12-08

The Paraguayan president has dismissed the minister of Indian affairs, the first Indigenous person to hold the post.

President Fernando Lugo has removed Margarita Mbywangi four months after his groundbreaking appointment.

Education Minister Horacio Galeano did not give a reason for the dismissal during mid-December, despite being pressed by reporters.

But other tribe leaders have charged that she favors her fellow Ache Indians over other Indigenous groups. They also say that she violated the sovereignty of various tribes.

Mbywangi, who says she was sold into forced labor as a child, countered that tribes object to her leadership because she is a woman.

Paraguay has 20 indigenous groups totaling 108,000 people.