By David Cheng
(Strössner or Strößner) Matiauda was born in November
3rd, 1912 at Encarnacion. Stroessner’s father, Hugo Stroessner
emigrated from Germany to Paraguay early in his years around 1895,
and met Stroessner’s mother, a Paraguayan national, name Heriberta
Matiauda. The two decided to marry and gave birth to their son,
which they named him Alfredo Stroessner. What neither the two of
them will ever imagine is what their son will later achieved in
the future and most importantly the role he played in Paraguay history.
At the age of only
17, Stroessner joined the Paraguayan army and served as a lieutenant
during the Chaco War. It was during the Chaco War that young Stroessner
gained experience of military skills from combat to military strategies.
Years later he arose steadily in rank to becoming the youngest brigadier
general in so far South America even until today.
In the year 1954,
he was selected to Divisions general where he later drove Federico
Chavez out of power with a group of Stroessner’s personal
military coup. He stayed in power for around 35 years and was reelected
8 consecutive times for the term of presidency from the year 1958
to his last term on 1988 before he was exiled from Paraguay where
he then fled to Brazil which is believed where he currently lives
right now. Stroessner’s rule would put him right beside Fidel
Castro as the two most recent decade’s powerful leaders in
Latin America history.
Stroessner was a very
strict and energetic leader. He reports to his office early in the
morning, and during his rule, unlike most other leaders, he never
did take any vacations during his term of presidency. Paraguay under
his rule, had improved greatly both in economy and politically.
No communist countries had set embassies of its nation in Paraguay
when he was in power. He also made numerous visits to other countries
such as Japan, France, and also several visits to both Germany and
the United States.
Although Stroessner was known to be a strict ruler, he had become
more tolerant over the years and slowly began to listen to others
ideas. But despite of that, his regime was still held responsible
for various kidnappings, tortures, and wide spread of corruption.
His relationship with the Roman Catholic Church in Paraguay was
also poor; he was blamed for numerous negative actions towards the
church. Some even joke around that Stroessner had the “power”
all over the corners of Paraguay, but except the Church area.
But regardless of
all the negatives, he had put in several positive acts in the area
of economy. The most known being the construction and building of
the world’s biggest hydroelectric power plant, with this advantage,
Paraguay exports electricity to numerous countries, developed the
country’s economy. Stroessner was also known for planning
out a lot of other major projects, like constructing highway systems
in the late 1900’s. He would also give out certain amount
of land to those who had chosen to join in the military and have
completed the services. As a result, estimate of 10,000 of men joined
in the military under his command.
Stroessner was forced
to abdicate during his term by a group of coup d'état led
by General Andres Rodriguez at the year 1989, and fled to Brazil.
It is believed that he is still currently living there after his
exile. The eastern city was named Puerto Flor de Lis before his
reign. But during his regime, it was named Puerto Presidente Stroessner
in his honor, but was later changed in the year 1989 to Ciudad Del