View Full Version : Paraguay's former strongman dies, aged 93

Aug 19th, 2006, 12:46 AM
Paraguay's former strongman dies, aged 93

Alex Kumi and agencies
Thursday August 17, 2006
The Guardian

Alfredo Stroessner, Paraguay's former dictator whose anti-communist regime lasted 35 years, died yesterday aged 93.
Stroessner, who was ousted in 1989 after a coup, had been in intensive care for several days following a hernia operation.

He contracted pneumonia and died of a stroke in a hospital in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, where he had lived in luxury since he was overthrown.

Nicanor Duarte, Paraguay's president, said the country would not be paying tribute to its former ruler because he had been wanted for questioning over alleged human rights abuses.

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"We're finally turning a page in history, putting a physical end to the dictatorship," said Josť Nicolas Morinigo, a senator from the Solidarity Country party.
Stroessner, a career soldier who rose to the rank of general, seized power in a coup in 1954 and developed a reputation as a ruthless leader. His tenure was characterised by human rights abuses and corruption. Hundreds of files discovered after he was toppled revealed Paraguay's role in the repression of leftwing activists across southern Latin America. He was also criticised for providing a haven for Nazi war criminals, most notably Josef Mengele, the chief doctor at Auschwitz. Anastasio Somoza, the Nicaraguan dictator, was also given refuge.

After he was forced from power, Stroessner was granted political asylum in Brazil. Paraguay requested his extradition on several occasions, but his refugee status made this impossible.

Stroessner's grandson, Alfredo, said a funeral service would be held in Brasilia, and the family would decide later whether he would be buried in Paraguay.

Sebastian Brett, a researcher with Human Rights Watch, said repression in Paraguay had been less than in Argentina or Chile. "But the degree to which people felt subject to persecution if they were in any way opponents of the regime was very, very intense," he said.


BRASILIA, Brazil -- Alfredo Stroessner, an anticommunist general who ruled Paraguay with force and patronage before his ouster in 1989, died in exile Wednesday. He was 93.

Stroessner came down with pneumonia after a hernia operation in Brazil's capital, where he had lived in near-total isolation since he was forced from power.

He seized power in a 1954 coup and through fraud and repression governed Paraguay longer than any other contemporary head of state in the western hemisphere. He remains hated by many in Paraguay, where he was accused of repression and his associates of corruption. But even some of his fiercest critics predicted Stroessner would be remembered for bringing Paraguay into modern times.

Paraguay has sought for years to question Stroessner about government opponents' disappearances during his rule. Human rights activists say Stroessner's government was a key part of Operation Condor, a network of right-wing military governments, secretly supported by U.S. intelligence agencies, that repressed leftist dissidents across South America in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The son of a German immigrant father and a Paraguayan mother, Stroessner rigged his re-election every five years after he seized power. While human rights violations increased, his rule also saw increased stability and progress in the landlocked country, which had been noted for economic stagnation and political turmoil.

Stroessner oversaw Paraguay's transformation from a country with open sewers and no running water to a relatively prosperous and modern nation. His public-works projects included the $16-billion Itaipu dam -- built with neighboring Brazil -- which began producing power in early 1985. But most of the new wealth did not reach average citizens in the nation of 3.8 million people.

Stroessner, meanwhile, put his name on schools, public buildings and the international airport. An important river port was christened Puerto Stroessner. His portrait decorated the walls of public offices and living rooms, and a huge neon sign in a central plaza of the capital, Asuncion, blinked the message: "Stroessner: Peace, Work and Well-being."

The general described virtually all his opponents as Marxist subversives bent on returning the country to political chaos.


Aug 19th, 2006, 02:47 AM
Why does Brazil hold former South American leaders who are accused of crimes against humanity in exile? Isn't it like condoning their acts?

Is Stroessner of German descent?

Aug 19th, 2006, 03:03 AM
Why does Brazil hold former South American leaders who are accused of crimes against humanity in exile? Isn't it like condoning their acts?

Is Stroessner of German descent?

i know :rolleyes:

yes i think he was of German descent.

i'm glad he's dead :o

Aug 19th, 2006, 05:24 AM
Pinochet is next :devil:

Aug 19th, 2006, 05:50 AM
good for him dying

Lord Nelson
Aug 19th, 2006, 12:50 PM
Does that mean that Castro too will live till his 90s like Stroessner and Pinochet?

Stroessner was not as clever as Pinochet. His market reforms were good but not enough unlike Pinochet did for Chile helping it transform itself to one of the most prosperous nations in Latin America. He did bring stability to the country but was a ruthless dictator. Even Reagan turned against him and and he was deposed by the army. He could have been cunning like Pinochet who voluntarily gave up power in 1990 but did not do so and had to flee the country.