Mario was born to a working-class family in Paraguay, his father was a military medic and his mother worked as a doctor’s office secretary. He is the oldest of seven siblings. He attended both private and public schools throughout his primary and secondary education. While in high school he learned Portuguese. Besides Spanish, he also speaks Guarani an indigenous language spoken in South America.
Mario went on to study at Asuncion National University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. In 1992 he took a job in the agricultural field in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. There he learned the difficulties of immigrant life in the United States living among agricultural workers, learning English as a third language and adapting himself to a new and multicultural society.
Mario moved from Hawaii to Washington DC where he settled after falling in love with the City. He started getting involved in issues related to the environment and human rights in Latin America. Mario met and married his wife in 1997. They are both avid recreational tennis players. They have a tolling retriever chow mix dog named Leo. They have been homeowners since 2001.
Mario worked as a community organizer for living wages in Montgomery County, MD and then for affordable housing and homeownership opportunities in DC. DC Mayor Anthony Williams appointed Mario to serve on the Rental Housing Conversion Task Force during his administration. He also worked as a community development consultant for the City of Takoma Park for more than 10 years.
Most recently Mario served as executive director of two senior centers in the District of Columbia providing crucial services such as housing, counseling services, wellness, and recreational activities to senior citizens citywide.