Sanford’s “Maria” Identified
It has been revealed that the Argentine woman who has been involved in a year long affair with South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford is Maria Belen Shapur. She works for Bunge y Born, a multinational agribusiness and grain trading corporation and is fluent in English, Portuguese and Chinese.
Shapur and the governor had known each other for seven years before she became his mistress. She is 43-years-old, has two sons and lives in a 14th floor apartment building in upscale Palermo District, near the Buenos Aires Zoo.
Having an extramarital affair is just not the big deal in cosmopolitan Argentine society that it is in fundamentalist communities of South Carolina. Sanford obviously felt at ease with that value system.
Maybe it’s time for cultural conservatives to start asking if their leaders really are the true believers they claim to be, or just hypocrites willing to pander to them for power. Because that’s frequently what it looks like from the outside, but tribal loyalties trigger such knee jerk defensiveness that those questions never seem to get asked.