Santiago Peña Palacios is a Paraguayan economist and politician. He is the President-elect of Paraguay after winning the 2023 general election by a wide margin.
Peña is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Paraguay, as well as a former Minister of Finance of Paraguay.
He was a member of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party before joining the Colorado Party.
In 2004, Peña began teaching financial theory as an adjunct professor at the Catholic University of Asunción. He later became a professor of economic policy at the same university in 2005.
Additionally, he has served on the leadership boards for the Central Bank of Paraguay and Banco Amambay. Peña has also published research papers on monetary policy and finance.
Peña joined the Colorado Party on October 29, 2016, after being a member of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party since he was 17. In 2017, he lost the Colorado Party’s internal election to Mario Abdo Benítez, who later became president in 2018.
He was then elected to the board of Banco Amambay in March 2018. The bank was owned by former President of Paraguay Horacio Cartes, for whom Peña had previously served as Minister of Finance.
Peña ran again in 2022 for the Colorado Party’s presidential candidate position, this time winning the candidacy.
During his campaign, Peña promised to create 500,000 jobs but did not specify how. He opposes the legalization of abortion and same-sex marriage, and he refuses to raise taxes, even though Paraguay has an underfunded state and the lowest tax burden in South America.
Peña has faced controversies in his political career. In October 2017, he was criticized for using a soldier to hold an umbrella over him while it was raining, despite not holding a state position.
In January 2021, Peña called advisors of Abdo Benítez “crooks and pedestrians” on Twitter following a scandal over them being allegedly involved in a secret deal with the PDVSA. This led to criticism of Peña due to accusations of corruption having also been levied at Horacio Cartes, with whom he had been closely aligned.
In September 2021, Peña faced criticism after taking part in a rally with Óscar González Chaves, who had been previously convicted of money laundering.
During the rally, Peña defended González, whom he had also supported during his 2017 run to be the Colorado Party candidate for president.
Critics of Peña believe that he will act as a mouthpiece for former President Cartes, and he has been accused of building a house on land he had not paid taxes on.
In February 2023, Peña claimed that Argentines “don’t know how to work” while speaking at a meeting in Itapúa.
Santiago Peña’s Wife: Meet Leticia Ocampos
Santiago Peña is married to Leticia Ocampos, According to Yahoo News, Santiago married Leticia in their teenage ages after he got her pregnant.
They are blessed with a son and a daughter.