A History of Paraguay
By Baruja, Paiva & Pinto

Chapter 14

The mirage of the "democratic spring", and the era of the "new liberalism", as those in favor of Estigarribia used to call it, finished unexpectedly and tragically in September of 1940, when the president passed away in a flight accident. The legend tells that rushing the fatal airplane, president Estigarribia was embraced with his lady handcuffs thus being united in the death like in the life. This hero military was promoted posthumously Marshal, will always be honored.

Hoping to control the government through a malleable military expert, liberal and most orthodox named the minister military Higinio Morínigo the president of the Republic. Morínigo had gained fame in Paraguay heading off expedition on Corá Hill (Cerro Cora) in 1936 to recover Marshal Lopez. The popular and always smiling Morínigo soon demonstrated to be a subtle politician with his own mentality. Having inherited the dictatorial powers of Marshal Estigarribia, Morínigo quickly prohibited the febreristas, liberales, and mofó openly in the free expression and the individual liberties. A dictator without political party and those in favor, Morínigo survived politically through many years, in spite of innumerable complots raised against him, his astute influence on a group of military official young people who defended important positions of the power. The time of Morínigo was a very interesting and unusual case in the political history of the country that always was pronounced through political sides.

The outbreak of World War II alleviated the task of Morínigo in Paraguay and maintained the army with its stimulated and incessant demand of Paraguayan products of exports, for example, meat, grains, and cotton, raised the level of exporting to the country. More importantly, the policy of the United States towards Latin America at this moment made Paraguay eligible to receive a good economic aid. A big wave of German influence in the Nazi region and inclinations pro of the successive governments of Argentina alarmed the United States that they looked for to wean Paraguay’s ambitions of the Germans and Argentineans. At the same time, the United States looked for to reinforce their presence in the region following their intimate cooperation with Brazil, the traditional rival of Argentina. With this aim, the United States provided Paraguay regular amounts of bottoms and provisions under an agreement of the loan and leasing provided public works and offered technical attendance in agriculture and health. The Department of State of the U.S.A. still approved intimate bows between Brazil and Paraguay and gave the appearance good to finance a project of route between both countries designed to reduce the dependency of Paraguay with Argentina.

Much misfortune was caused to the United States when Morínigo refused to act against the economic interests and diplomatic Germans. The German agents had turned to many Paraguayans successfully to the cause of the Axis. The first Nazi party in South America was based on Paraguay in 1931. Schools for German immigrants, churches, hospitals, youthful cooperatives farmers, groups and charitable societies transformed into those in favor of the Axis. All those organizations widely spread the swastikas and pictures of Adolf Hitler in showy form. The memories of the perennial minister of Morínigo, Amancio Pampliega were lovers of detail, and objective about those activities they love relating with substantial time that was called on to him to live.

It is not exaggeration to affirm that Morínigo headed a great and favorable regime to the Axis numbers of officials of the Paraguayan army and civil employees of the government were openly supporting of the Axis. Between these civil employees, the head of the national police baptized its son, like Adolph Hirohito. In 1941 the official newspaper, the Country, had adopted publicly to position German pros. At the same time, the government controlled allied labor union pros strictly. The cadets of the police took the swastika and the Italian standard of fasces in their uniforms. The Japanese attack against Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and the German declaration of war against the United States gave the influence the Yankees to force Morínigo to commit publicly with the allied cause. Morínigo officially retired diplomatic relations with the countries of the Axis in 1942 but did not declare war on Germany until February of 1945. However, Morínigo continued maintaining near relations with the Argentine army deeply influenced by the Germans during the war and provided a safe asylum for the spies and agents with the Axis.

The final allied victory convinced Morínigo and it liberalized his regime. Paraguay experienced a brief democratic opening when Morínigo relaxed the restrictions of free expression, allowing to return political exiled and formed a union government. Morínigo intentions were to take a step to the flank. Nevertheless, he also made an alliance with duros of the Red Party and their faccioso Red Script, a paramilitary group color to turn around the opposition. The result was an insolvent coup d'etat in December of 1946 unleashing an ugly civil war in March of 1947.

Led by Colonel Frank Rafael, the revolutionaries were an eccentric union of febreristas, liberal and communist united together in desire to overthrow Higinio Morínigo. The coloradismo helped Morínigo to squash the uprising rebels. But the man who really saved the government of Morínigo during the crucial battles was the commander of the artillery regiment "General Brúgez", with the help of lieutenant colonel Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda. When a revolt took place in a naval base of Asuncion, placed to a strategic working district in rebellious hands, the regiment of Stroessner quickly radioed the rubble area pure. When the rebellious cannoneers threatened bombing the capital, the forces of Stroessner fought furiously and they left them outside combat.

At the end of the rebellion in August, a single party, the one that was outside from 1904, had almost total control in Paraguay. Waging the war, the policy had been simplified eliminating all the parties except the Colorado and reducing the size of the army because seventy and five percents of the officer had united the rebels, that is, less individual were now in a position to compete and fight for power. As it often happens in the past, the coloradismo escindió as rival factions, and the line lasts (Red Script) headed by the ardent nationalist writer and publisher Natalicio González was against the democratic practices. The moderate democratic faction led by Federico Chaves favored the free elections and an adjustment to share the power with the other parties. With the backward movement of Morínigo, González sent the group of Red Script to intimidate the moderate ones. Therefore the presidential candidacy party, following political traditions Paraguay, gained opposition in long promised elections of 1948. Suspecting that Morínigo would not easily leave power into the hands of González, a group of official military including Stroessner, moved away to Morínigo’s government, but even so, Natalicio González did not unite with Higinio Morínigo in the exile in 1949, victims of one intrigues within its party. Federico Chaves was made president finally in 1950 when the army bequeathed the power to the red democrats.

Paraguay is a country of rich tradition along with its oral history. Starting off of that tradition the legend of architect Tomás Romero Pereyra exists. When the dictatorship of Morínigo began, it was not known very well towards where it pointed the new big shot of the country. Several members suspected that in case of chaos and national dismemberment, an annexation could be taken advantage of Paraguay from Argentina, dominated under fort governments’ influences of military man from 1930. After all the suspicion, it was not preposterous that the Argentineans were the unique ones who always helped Paraguay in all the fight of the Chaco under table. Romero Pereyra went to the Brazilians asking for financial aid to them to aid the old one and diminished the Red Party. And that way they appeared the red ones with considerable force extracted from anything from the civil war of 1947. In spite of the successive presidents colored, this one personage preferred to stay behind the public curtain celebrating of gray monk. One said that Stroessner had good part to him of its limitless power within the Red Party.

The Paraguayan policy adjusted in a certain sense. The Chaco War had ignited the revolution of February ' 36 that caused the fall of the liberal state and as well introduced a return of the Paraguayan nationalism with deep reverences towards the past dictatorial (fascismo). The result was the constitution of the year 1940 that unfortunately gave back to the executive power undressed by liberalism. After a brief romance with the democracy, a civil war happened after World War II to recover the country, and led the country to the "party of lopiztas": or in other words, the Red Party. Meanwhile, the influence of the Armed Forces had increased dramatically in the public concert: from the aim of the Chaco War, no Paraguayan government has raised the power without the consent of the army. Morínigo maintained the order restricting severely the individual liberties but creating a dangerous political emptiness since he himself did not respond to some his party accounts. When she tried to fill it with the Red Party, she divide it in two and no faction could consolidate itself to the power without military aid. The unipartidista institution, privileging the order on the political liberties and the meaning of the army’s final political referee created the conditions that favored reconciling of one long night... the regime of Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda.

Next --> 

Contact Us ~ Staff ~ Site Info ~ Expats ~ Forum ~ Guestbook ~ Missions ~ Links
Copyright (c) 2006 - Asuncion Christian Academy