Country Listing

Paraguay Table of Contents


The Twin Pillars of the Stroessner Regime

Although the Colorado Party emerged triumphant from the civil war of 1947, an ongoing struggle among its factions hindered governmental continuity. Between 1948 and 1954, six persons occupied the presidency. Stroessner, who had become commander in chief of the armed forces, was an active participant in the political intrigue of that era and eventually led his troops in a successful coup in May 1954 against President Federico Chaves. Two months later, Stroessner was selected as a compromise candidate by the Colorados, who considered his presidency only a temporary interlude, and he ran in elections from which other parties were excluded. Relying on his control of the armed forces, and with considerable shrewdness and the constant work for which he was famous, Stroessner gained control over the factions of the Colorados and subordinated the party to his interests. By 1967 all within the party had become supporters of Stroessner (see Consolidation of the Stroessner Regime , ch. 1). In addition to the control of the government itself, the major institutional bases of his rule, and thus of the Paraguayan political system, were the armed forces--including the national police, a paramilitary force that was under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Interior but was headed by army officers--and the Colorado Party.

Data as of December 1988