The Regime of Alfredo Stroessner
The dramatic overthrow of General Alfredo Stroessner in February 1989 plunged Paraguay into a state of collective shock. Stroessner had held office for over 34 years, longer than any other ruler in Paraguayan history. Nearly 75 per cent of the population had grown up in a culture of fear and repression, knowing no other regime than the stronato. Having surrounded himself with an aura of indestructibility, many could simply not believe that his rule had come to an end. This was because Stroessner had succeeded in becoming an integral part of the national identity, a symbol of Paraguay. Barrios, streets, plazas and towns were named after him, stamps and currency carried his image, and his portrait adorned all public offices and schools. There was a Stroessner airport, a President Stroessner city on the Brazilian border, even a Stroessner polka. His image was one of the ‘irreplaceable national leader who had restored social harmony to conflictual Paraguay’ (Roett, 1989: 129).
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Notes And References
- 7.The complete text is in Luis Vittone, Dos Siglos de Política Nacional (Imprenta Militar, Asunción, 1976) 122–3.Google Scholar