A History of Paraguay
By Baruja, Paiva & Pinto

Chapter 16

In 1989, Stroessner’s in-law, General Andrés Rodríguez Pedotti, came to power, a relative who looked for an opportunity to maintain and strengthen ties and common interests. He subtly eased into the inner circle of the dictator through problems of a commercial nature. Now deceased from colon cancer, this general, killed more by rather by the additional circumstances than any other thing, had this goal. At the same time, the country was already being affected by chaotic and extreme situations, such as the grave economic situation, where groups of citizens, stirred by the winds of change in neighboring countries, filled the streets of the capital with sporadic and pacific protests. However, they were constantly and brutally repressed by the political police.

Fundamentally affected in its economic interests by limits imposed by the government, the nation revolted, deposing the old dictator, who at that time was already 76 years old; he had been born in 1912. This event took place one early morning, between the 2 and 3 of February; the country subsequently experienced an explosion of joy, where a great amounts of people took to the streets to celebrate the fall of the despotic one, corrupt and blood-thirsty regime.

Rodriguez was the only man capable of deposing the old government. No one else existed in the country with the capacity to face such a challenge. General Rodriguez commanded the 1st Cavalry Division, that had armored heavy tanks and under his direct command, all the cavalry units were loyal to him, since he had been their commander since the 60s. Rodriguez, influenced by the democratic winds that stirred the nation that year (1989), granted many civil liberties to the public, spurring outpourings of surprise and incomparable joy after so many decades of repression and submission, it was now possible protest, think, and criticize. People filled the streets, eager for the freedom to think, to discuss, and to shout.

Overnight the country stirred with expectation and repressed anxiety. Thus a free media arose that initiated civic awareness of freedom of speech, which in years to come was more used and taken advantage of.
But around General Rodríguez, many groups stayed seeking power, economic as well as political groups, many with deep ties to the old regime. The process of polical and civil freedom that had been started was in part frustrated by these circumstances. But in other aspects it advanced greatly, the political field being one such area. For example, formerly persecuted and restricted politcal parties were freed, the nacional Constitution was modified, exiled politicans returned, and elections of town mayors and community councils were allowed. A great adventure had begun for the nation to guide its own destiny.
First Elections with the new National Constitution of 1992
These groups who surrounded Rodríguez, and of which he was a part of, maintained their power by changing tactics, always keeping the Colorado Party as an indispensable element of power.
The base from as was going to come in this opportunity the factual powers, arisen from the great swindles and robberies in the stronista regime, were the one of the use and abuse of the power, from the treasure of the state, using the extraordinary infrastructure of the Red Party, mounted in the 40 years of abuse of the government properties, that by force of submission and collective manipulation like unique party, had formed impressive and a respectable electoral volume, like thus also of the formidable distribution of their respective distributed in favor premises all over the republic. Using the force of the money, they were appropriated the in favor apparatus, dominating it and putting it to his services, draining it of ideological content and programmatic, (that already Stroessner in first opportunity, had been in charge of the same), maintaining it captive and dominated according to these corporative interests. These groups, all near ones and become related in negotiated, after the democratic facade, with some democratic concessions, really maintained incólumes the great negotiated transactions and in their power.

General Rodriguez and his surroundings, when seeing to arise new political figures, and potable candidacies in the opposition, that without many considerations neither ideological bases that sustain them, with personalities new and eager to change to the course of the country, which they were opened step, obtaining the receptivity of the electorate, or separated the totalitarian oppression, gambled a card to prop up their predecessor, who would maintain to them to them covered and protected before any possibility of the distance or control of the administration of the power. (Léase to manage and to administer great and enormous volumes of money that began to enter the country like new technologies, companies, concessions, attendances, etc.; appearing the television by cable, the cellular telephony, new investments, new agro-industrial companies, loans of development, reactivation, etc., that had to continue being administered by them).

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