Eligio Ayala
By Pauline Hwang

Eligio Ayala was born in Mbuyapey of the Guairá Department in 1878, during the gradual reconstruction and repopulation period of the nation following the Triple Alliance War. His father was the Spanish Don Mariano Sisa but Ayala lived with his single mother, Manuela, and with scholarships was able to finish his primary and secondary school years. Starting in 1900, he attended law school, beginning his political career while teaching arithmetic, filosophy, and logic in the national school. In 1905 he was elected congressman by the Liberal party and in 1909 concluded his studies of law in the National University of Asunción. Involved in one of the many revolutions led by Coronel Albino Jara, Ayala was exiled to Europe in 1911 where he remained several years furthering his studies. His interests included economics, philosophy, and the social sciences. He lived in Britain, Germany, Italy, France, and Switzerland. He was fluent in four languages—excluding Spanish and Guaraní—English, German, Italian, and French. In 1913, President Eduardo Shaerer made him head of Foreign Services and put him in charge of reorganizing the Consular Service and establishing an Information Center on Paraguay to attract potential immigrants. A writer, Ayala wrote “Paraguay, from a European point of view” while in Berlin and later a study on “The Agrarian Evolution in Engliand.” He wrote several other manuscripts while still in Europe in the First World War era. In August of 1916 President Manuel Franco named him Minister of Hacienda, but he preferred to remain in Europe where he continued writing, finishing with “The Social Question.” Ayala returned to Paraguay in 1919 and was again named Minister of Hacienda the following year, this time by President Manuel Gondra, a position which he took on. In 1923, a coup d’tat forced President Eusebio Ayala to resign. Eligio Ayala took the position of Provisional President for a two-year span when he renounced to run as an official presidential candidate. In 1924 Eligio Ayala was elected President of Paraguay and immediately showed signs of leadership and authority in reestablishing order, putting into practice the solutions he had formed in his political writings on the diverse economic, educative, political and social problems of the nation. During his term in office, President Eligio Ayala sent a bill to the Congress proposing a Project on the Creation of a Central Bank. The bill was denied. Still, the monetary system and banks were laid down by Eligio Ayala. The example set by Ayala represented humanism because the job included the restoring of civilized order and organizing to promoting the prosperity of the citizens by always keeping food on the tables of families and continuing to celebrate education, health, employment, and access to the cultural good.

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