Paraguay. The year ended with the political temperature rising before the presidential and congressional elections in April 2018. In September, the two largest opposition parties PLRA (The True Liberal Radical Party) and Frente Guasú (FG) entered into an election alliance to try to defeat the ruling ANR PC (National Republican Organization- Colorado Party), which ruled Paraguay for a total of 70 years. In the primary elections on December 17, Senator Mario Abdo Benitez was elected ANR-PC’s presidential candidate. He is a controversial politician with ties to the former Stroessner dictatorship (1954–89). The election was seen as a direct challenge to incumbent President Horacio Cartes, whose faction within the deeply divided party supported another candidate. PLRA was also fragmented but managed to agree with FG to elect attorney Efraín Alegre as the alliance’s presidential candidate. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for frequently used acronyms and abbreviations related to as well as country profile of Paraguay.
According to Countryaah.com, a strong contributing reason for the split in both parties was that supporters of President Cartes in the Senate at the end of March sought support for a change to the Constitution so that he could be re-elected in April 2018. The proposal met with great opposition from both opposition parties, who claimed that it was illegal and launched a campaign for a judicial process against the president, and among Carte’s opponents in his own party. After a month of street protests and attacks on the congress building, the proposal was withdrawn.
A massacre in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero on the border with Brazil at the end of July focused on the influence of organized Brazilian crime in Paraguay. Four people were killed and six injured when members of Brazil’s largest narcotic Primeiro Comando da Capital opened fire on a nightclub in the city in what is believed to be a deal between leagues. Similar events occurred in April in Ciudad del Este, another border town further south. Tensions between the EPP guerrilla group (Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo) and paramilitary militia groups also increased during the year with kidnappings and disappearances.
History. – After having abandoned the League of Nations in February 1935 in protest against the decision of the assembly, which, accepting the recommendations of the special committee of inquiry, recognized Bolivia’s reasons by establishing the abolition of the embargo decided by the adhering states on the shipments of arms to this state and keeping it instead towards Paraguay, this resumed the war for the question of the Chaco Boreal with greater vigor. The forces of Paraguay in fact advanced up to the hills at the foot of the Andes, occupying all the disputed territory. However, both countries were at the end of their capacity for resistance, so that in June 1935 it was not difficult to get the two belligerents to accept, through the mediation of Argentina, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay, an armistice project that came undersigned. On January 21, 1936, through the Buenos Aires protocol, the armistice was renewed and Paraguay and Bolivia agreed to demobilize, repatriate prisoners and resume diplomatic relations. The repatriation of the prisoners and the demobilization were carried out in the course of 1936, but were accompanied by a long series of secondary protests, as revolutionary movements in both countries had eliminated the governments that had negotiated the armistice. And therefore each feared the intention of the other to take up arms again.
The situation became very worrying again in the spring of 1938 (see Bolivia, App.). But on 21 July 1938, in Buenos Aires, the treaty of peace, friendship and territorial delimitation was signed between Bolivia and Paraguay, thus putting an end to the long question of the Chaco.
This long war, for the sacrifices of wealth and men it caused, was not without consequences for the internal life of Paraguay. Indeed, fostered by popular resentment against the reigning government of Ayala, in February 1936, Colonel Rafael Franco, who had been considered one of the national heroes for his behavior during the Chaco War, returned from exile, which he had been condemned for his trespassing in the Bolivian province of Santa Cruz, and occupied Asunción, seized the government forcing President Ayala to resign. Rafael Franco wanted to establish a fascist-type totalitarian government by declaring that the revolution he led ”
In recent years, the Paraguayan economy has not shown noticeable changes, also due to the fact that the war with Bolivia has used its energies and resources very considerably. Note the tendency to extend the cultivation of cotton in the Chaco region, so much so that it could be said that Paraguay is moving towards this monoculture. In recent years the Paraguayan trade has undergone the following movement (in millions of gold pesos):
Trade still takes place mainly with Argentina both for import and export, even if for import many goods coming from Argentina are manufactured or produced by other states and therefore constitute re-exports.
Finance. – The economic and financial situation, after the Chaco war ended, is gradually recovering.
As of December 31, 1935, the external debt was 121 million and the internal debt 361 million.
The official rate of the peso pegged to the Argentine peso since 1923 (18.75 Paraguayan paper pesos = 1 Argentine paper weight) has been modified several times following the inflation that occurred during the hostilities, and was set at mid-1936 at 61.50 for an Argentine paper weight.
On February 22, 1936, the Oficina de cambios was transformed into a Bank of the Republic, maintaining the functions of central bank and exchange control; the latter, however, was partially abolished in January 1937.
In the second half of 1936 the circulation was estimated at 1125 million pesos.