by Bruno Zavala


Paraguayan law is like a den of hungry lions. The executioners, or judges, were vile, unfair, bias, and prejudice they took innocent people and fed them to the lions; sometimes only for the price of silence. Paraguay needed a Daniel, a Daniel that would stop the massacre and show the king that he was wrong. Daniel came in many forms and movements. In this case it did not show the king that he was wrong but, destitute the evil dictator and send him into exile. Paraguayan law started weak after a harsh dictatorship but is regaining strength and respect over the years.

The law system in Paraguay was weak primarily due to unbalanced powers mostly held by the dictator Alfredo Stroessner. The primary problem was the lack of respect for human rights; it was a violation of the constitution like it is seen done in various occasions throughout Paraguay’s history. Article five of the Paraguayan constitution defends the human rights; it protects the citizens against torture, or inhumane treatment (CAT).  Bernardo Rojas was a political prisoner in the jail ¨comisaria primera¨ he was tortured psychologically as the police showed him the news paper in which his wife was announced dead, they told him she had committed suicide, two years later he found out she was killed in the prison camp, Emboscada (Almada Martin, 34). There were other attempts against Paraguayan freedom that was in the form of limitation of the speech, which hid all the dark aspects of the evil dictatorship. Article 72 of the Paraguayan constitution protects freedom of speech (OEA). Article 72 was again clearly violated and the constitution was once again stepped on during the Stroessner era. It was vital for him to keep the people ignorant or his inevitable destitution was going to occur faster than planned. It was hard to keep the crowds quiet, for example the resistance in the National University of Medicine was gaining popularity as people like Filizzola were being persecuted beat up, and put in jail for undetermined periods of time, just for speaking the truth about the country’s situation. The reason for the main problem being unbalanced power is because Alfredo Stroessner was the man in charge he did what he pleased with the constitution and all the court systems, if you were not on the right side you loss, thus why it was not until 1989 when he fell,  that powers were once again stable. Stroessner changed the constitution established in 1940 on 1977 to stay in power he amended the article stating that no president can’t be re-elected on two consecutive terms. He changed the constitution to make re-election legal and being in charge of the army made sure everyone voted for him. Thus was the way Stroessner stayed in power for 35 years. Not the only ¨detail changed¨ in the constitution he changed article 40 and 41 which limit executive powers, making him all powerful, he gave his close friends all the higher charges in the government. This ¨ring of fire¨ created by him made it almost impossible to break into the system. Almost impossible to break, because in 1989 the cup d´ etat those once and for all send him into exile balanced powers once again.

A an uncertain time came for Paraguay after the coup d´etat, Rodriguez took power and had to transition the judicial system, and then passed on the task democratically to Wasmosy as he was the first democratically elected president after the dictatorship. A lot of responsibilities and powers fell on Rodriguez’s shoulders, it was tempting for him to not do the same as his foe, but he had an angry, eager nation waiting on his decisions.  There were main issues set up by the organization of American states to combat the post Stroessner problems. The first issue was to create an election law once again, since it was not in use for 35 years (OEA). Then were also the lack of an independent, effective, judicial system. On 17, may 1990 the organization of American states came to evaluate Paraguay. Although the head was gone it was still dangerous to deal with the snake “pockets of resistance to democracy and to a government of law” were left over of the dictatorship that still did as they pleased, some even continue until this date.  It was Wasmosy´s turn to try to normalize the new democratic judicial system. .Some people claim he is the man that single- handed stole most money becoming one of the few Paraguayan billionaires. Although that is up to debate, Wasmosy had various curious moments in his presidency. There is the claim that he faked Lino Oviedo conspiracy to have him thrown of the country in fear that he would be the next president (la persecusion). A lot of swindling, lying, and deceiving took place in Paraguay in this time. No one knows for sure what happened but again the judicial system was not working how it was supposed to, impartial and transparently. President Wasmosy had Lino Oviedo arrested twice, the second time when it was about time to choose a leader for the Presidency. Justice was trying to persist when a judge gave an Habeas Corpus to protect Lino Oviedo. All the judges in favour of Lino were destitute and some even put into prison (la persecusion).  With all the set backs possible, a Lino representative wins the elections democratically and Wasmosy passed on the power to Raul Cubas. Raul Cubas did not have much time to do anything, blamed for the assassination of Luis Maria Argaña, which is also very curious; Cubas and Oviedo were sent to exile (CIDOB).

The Paraguayan Judicial branch is finally settling down and taking decisive actions , actions that are really fair to catch the people who before walked away with their crime and lurked among the innocent, pathetic. It’s been a long way since the first time the constitution was stepped on, but it does not mean it can not happen again. Nicanor Duartes Frutos, current president of Paraguay, tried to ¨amend¨ the constitution to let him hold more that one charge as a president, this would let him be president of the ANR, which means that he can run for president again. It seemed impossible to stop Nicanor as he got together with his Friends in the Court of Justice to plan his next move. This time the people got together to prevent a ¨new dictator¨ and started a manifestation in the same plaza were ¨marzo paraguayo¨ occurred. Thousands of people came and the president was encouraged to no longer try and do something funky (linea capital). Some are lucky to get away like the president Wasmosy although it is not as bad as 16 years ago. The president Juan Carlos Wasmosy was tried and declared guilty and ordered to serve four years of prison. His team appealed and his case was held in the limbo since, although he got away from jail, this big fish can’t leave Paraguay (NIEKE). The prosecutors are waiting for more evidence to put him behind the bars. A less fortunate candidate is moments away of getting his private room in tacumbu, as the soul prove that Paraguay has hope of Justice, an ex president, Luis Angel Gonzalez Machi, is going to jail for fraud.  He has been accused and for the most part proved guilty of the ¨re- positioning¨ of 16 million dollars. The 16 million could not be found or explained missing and were traced to a bank in the US that is there for ¨alto rendimiento¨. He declares his innocence and claims to know nothing of the issue. There are other hard to explain accounts in Switzerland, and a stolen car from Brazil (la nacion).

It is clear then how Paraguayan law started weak after a harsh dictatorship but is regaining strength and respect over the years. All the Stroessner bloodsuckers that got away with mere exile but a fortune on their hands. All the injustices committed that in many cases just help the rich and blame the poor. But the situation is changing and the fact that one of the big pigs is know going to jail is a light for the dark reign of injustices. It is clear that the Paraguayan justice is gaining authority to judge everyone fairly unlike 50 years ago.


Works Cited


Almada, Martin. PARAGUAY: LA CARCEL OLVIDADA. Buenos aires:  Ediciones Antequera, 1988


¨Biographia de lideres politicos¨ CIDOB. Last updated 2001.Visited 07/06/06


¨Biographia de lideres politicos¨ CIDOB. last updated 2001. Visited 07/06/06


¨ STRUCTURE OF THE STATE AND LEGAL REGULATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ¨. Organization of American States (OEA). Visited 05/06/06

ON HUMAN RIGHTS 1989-1990¨ Organization of American States (OEA). Visited 05/06/06

¨committee against torture (cat) ¨. Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights. Last updated 1996. Visited 05/06/06

¨la Persecusion¨. Biographia. Updated June 2006. Visited june 2006-06-10.

¨Fiscala urge a la Corte para que condene a Wasmosy¨. NIEKE. Last updated  07-Abr-2006. visited 05/06/06

¨Paraguay: seis años de prisión para González Machi por corrupción¨. La Nacion. Last updated 05/06/06, visted 05/06/06

¨Paraguayos se manifestaron contra Nicanor en Asunción¨. Linea Capital. Last updated 1 de mayo. Last visited 04/06/06

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