Alfredo Stroessner was a Paraguayan Army officer who ruled over Paraguay as its dictator from 1954 to 1989. His 35-year-long rule is the longest in the history of modern South America. He was overthrown in 1989 in a military coup led by Andrés Rodríguez. Subsequently, he was forced into exile and spent his last 17 years in exile in Brazil.
Francisco Solano López was a Paraguayan politician who served as the president of Paraguay from 1862 to 1870. Before becoming a leader, López played an important role in the Platine Wars where he fought against Juan Manuel de Rosas, serving in the Paraguayan Army. A controversial figure, Solano López is sometimes held responsible for the outbreak of the Paraguayan War.
Horacio Cartes is a Paraguayan politician and businessman. From 2013 to 2018, he served as the president of Paraguay. Apart from being an important member of the Colorado Party, Cartes is also an influential businessman. He owns the business conglomerate Grupo Cartes, which includes about two dozen businesses, including Paraguay's largest cigarette manufacturer Tabacalera del Este.
Initially a Roman Catholic bishop, Fernando Lugo later led Paraguay as its president. His election as the president ended the long reign of over 6 decades of the Colorado Party. He made headlines when he was dragged into a sex scandal, which proved he had fathered several illegitimate children.
Former president of Paraguay Federico Franco is also a qualified surgeon who co-owns a hospital with his brothers. The Authentic Radical Liberal Party member was known for establishing economic stability in his country but was later blamed for corruption and accused of depleting the country of its resources.
The 1st president of Paraguay, Carlos Antonio López started his career as a lawyer. His tenure was marked by corruption, as he owned half the country’s lands. However, he encouraged European professionals to visit his country and engage in trade. He also abolished slavery and torture.
Juan Carlos Wasmosy of Colorado Party was the first freely elected president of Paraguay as also first civilian president of the country in thirty-nine years. He held office from August 15, 1993 to August 15, 1998. Wasmosy was convicted of defrauding the Paraguayan state in 2002 and sentenced to four-years in prison which was later reduced to bail and house-arrest.
Military officer and politician Andrés Rodríguez served as 43rd President of Paraguay. He led the 1989 Paraguayan coup d'état against regime of dictator Alfredo Stroessner resulting in end of thirty-four year rule of Stroessner, and rise of Rodríguez as new President. Presidency of Rodríguez led to several reforms which abolished many draconian laws and paved way for liberalization of Paraguay.
Paraguayan politician Nicanor Duarte, presently a Senator for life, served as the 47th President of Paraguay from August 15, 2003 to August 15, 2008. He earlier held office as Minister of Education and Culture from 1993 to 1997 and as President of the ANR-Colorado Party from 2001 to 2004. He also served as Ambassador to Argentina from 2013 to 2016.
José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia went down in history as the first dictator of Paraguay. Although he had initially studied theology, he later deviated to law. Known as El Supremo, he banned all foreign trade in his bid to make Paraguay self-sufficient, thus eventually weaking it and curbing personal freedom.
Paraguayan soldier and politician Federico Chávez was elected President of Paraguay in 1950 and re-elected in 1953. His tenure as president ended after a coup d'état led by General Alfredo Stroessner during May 4-7 in 1954 led to the overthrow of his government and eventually set the stage for election of Stroessner as president of the country later same year.
Hernando Arias de Saavedra was a politician and soldier of criollo ancestry. He served as the governor of Governorate of the Río de la Plata on two occasions, becoming the first person to serve as governor of a New World's European colony after being born in the Americas. He also served as the Governorate of Paraguay from 1615 to 1617.
Noted Paraguayan politician and Supreme Court judge Luis María Argaña, a prominent member of Colorado Party, became Vice President of Paraguay in August 1998. He was brutally assassinated on March 23, 1999, at a time when President Raúl Cubas was charged with abuse of power and was on-the-verge of being impeached setting the stage for Argaña to succeed as president.
Paraguayan politician Blanca Ovelar became the first woman in the history of Paraguayan politics to run for President. She was nominated by the Colorado Party for president in the April 2008 presidential election. Ovelar however lost to Fernando Lugo of the Patriotic Alliance for Change thus marking end of the Colorado Party’s 61 years of continuous hold on the presidency.
Paraguayan teacher Carmen Casco de Lara Castro later established herself as a human rights activist, establishing one of Latin America’s first human rights organizations. She is also remembered for her efforts to include basic rights in the Paraguayan constitution. She was also honored by the UN for her work on human rights.
Born to a Paraguayan mother and an Argentine father, Manuel Gondra initially proved himself to be an educational reformer and later led the country as its president. He had also been Paraguay’s minister to Brazil. The Liberal Party member was also an author and a journalist.
Former culture minister of Paraguay Ticio Escobar is not just a qualified lawyer but is also the founder-director of the Museo del Barro in Asuncion. The Prince Claus Award winner has also been a university professor and has penned several books on the Paraguayan indigenous community.
Paraguayan politician Margarita Mbywangi, a member and leader of the Aché indigenous group of eastern Paraguay, in 2008 became the first indigenous person to serve as Minister of Indigenous Affairs in Paraguay. Mbywangi focused on obtaining indigenous land rights, protecting forested lands of the country, and on improving access of indigenous peoples to food, clothing, potable water and health care.
Renowned Paraguayan lawyer Sheila Abed served as Paraguay’s minister of justice and labor from 2013 to 2016. She has also worked as the counselor of the Yacyretá Binational Hydropower Dam previously. She has also been associated with the UNEP and founded the Institute on Economics and Environmental Law.
While Ana Maria Baiardi initially served as the Paraguayan ambassador Italy, Greece, Israel, and Slovenia, she was later named the Paraguayan minister of women. She now serves as the Paraguayan ambassador to Peru. A social science major from New York, she also has a master’s degree in international integration.
Paraguayan writer, activist and politician Juan Carlos Da Costa was imprisoned and later deported to Argentina for resisting the regime of President Alfredo Stroessner. He later secretly entered Paraguay and become main leader of the clandestine movement OPM that endeavoured in creating an armed resistance against dictator Stroessner’s repressive government. Da Costa later died in a gunfight with the police.