A History of Paraguay
By Baruja, Paiva & Pinto

Chapter 6

Francia, were described by historians as "the fragile man dressed in black jacket", admired and emulated the most radical elements of the French Revolution. Although its character reflected a lot similar to jacobino leader Maximiliano de Robespierre (1758-94), the ideal policies of France came near more closely to François-Noël Babeuf, an utópico French who wanted to abolish the private property and to communalize the Earth as a prelude of an "Equal republic". Francia disliked the political culture of the old regime. In the apogee of their dictatorship, when Francia took a walk in the streets of Asuncion, the passers-by had to stop and present themselves and show him respect by taking off the hat like safety measure. And because of that rule, very few contemporaries managed to see the face of the “Supreme one”.

In his essence, the government of the Karaí Guazú, was a dictatorship without mercy that destroyed the power of elite and dominated the interests of the common Paraguayans. He installed a system of inner espionage that destroyed the freedom to express. Many people were arrested and some were missing without more proceedings. There was a terrible torture called "Camera of the Truth" that was applied to those suspects which intrigued against Francia.

The Karaí Guazú sent political prisoners, usually about 400 per year, to a halting camping where shackles in jails were placed on them, with the minimum medical care and the most limited use of average toilets it is believed that its an indirect act of revenge against the people who had "impure blood", Francia prohibited Europeans to marry with other European, forcing elites to choose spouses in the local population. Francia sealed the borders from Paraguay to the external world and executed to whatever hermetically it tried to leave the country. The foreigners who managed to enter Paraguay resigned to remain there for the rest of their lives. The Paraguayan commerce declined at this time. That declivity ruined the grass exporter along with killing the tobaccos. These measures affected the members harshly of the old Spanish governing class and their descendants, to stop jerarcas of the Church, military, trading officials and great landowners.
Four years later Paraguayan congress named like Francia dictator by life with the title of the "Supreme Dictator" in 1820. The security system of Francia was discovered and squashed a group of elite that was going to assassinate the Supreme one. Francia arrested almost 200 prominent citizens and executed the majority. Among them they were próceres of the independence, Yegros that was executed the 17 of July 1820 and Pedro Juan Horseman whom it preferred to commit suicide before the torment. In 1821 Francia’s surprised return summoned approximately the 300 resident Spaniards in Paraguay to the greater seat of Asuncion, the place that accused them of treason, they were arrested quickly and it put them in prison for 18 months.
Francia finally loosen after they accepted to pay an enormous collective indemnification of 150,000 pesos (near 75% of the annual state budget), also great amount that broke his predominance in the Paraguayan economy. One of the special targets for Francia was the Roman Catholic Church. The Church had provided ideological support to the Spanish idea on the economic doctrine of the "divine right of kings" and inculcando masses Indians with a fatalism resigned on its social state and perspective. Francia prohibited nuns, closing in the country and seminaries, secularizó monks and priests forcing them to that they swore loyalty to the state, abolished the ecclesiastical law, confiscated all property of the Church and subordinated the finances of the Church under state control.

Chusma directly benefited from the repression of elites traditional and the expansion of the state. The state territories of elite and the church rented them to the poor men. Approximately 875 families had home to territories of closed seminaries. The fines and confiscaciones decreed against the Creoles helped to reduce taxes for the others. As a result, the state attacks Francia’s elite and their socialist policies caused very little popular resistance. The fines, expropriations and confiscaciones of property to foreigners allowed the state to transform into the greatest landowner of the nation and happened to operate 45 great farms in the future. Administered by personnel of the army, the farms were as much successful.

In contrast with others regional state, Paraguay was efficient and honestly administrated, stable and strong. Crime continued existing under dictatorship but they treated the criminals with indulgence. For example, they put murderers to work on public construction. Paraguay also began to become a political refuge for political people in trouble. Francia was an extremely honest man. He doubled the budget after he rose to power.
Under Francia’s rule Paraguay began to have its own industry that included fabric textiles and naval construction, he invested a lot on agriculture which also boosted the Paraguayan economy. Francias biggest achievement was to maintain Paraguayan independence. Francia isolated Paraguay and stopped foreign trade and political influence. Tensions with Argentina grew more and more and a possible war was prevailed. Francia controlled tightly the trade with foreign nations in other to get what he wanted, especially weapons.
Francia is also recognized for creating a genuine Paraguayan nationality. He achieved this by controlling the borders very strictly creating a special difference in there culture and language with others nations. He used natural barriers to stop foreign influence. For example instead of killing of the Indians like all other dictators he allied with them which helped them keep off foreign people from coming in. All these political and economical achievements by Francia helped Paraguay become an independent nation. Francia controlled personally every aspect of Paraguayan public life no matter how detailed it was. All of the Paraguayan Achievements in that time some how related to Francia.

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