Childhood & Early Life
He was born on July 5, 1956 as Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara in Asunción, Paraguay, to Ramón Telmo Cartes and Elva Jara.
His father, a very successful man in the field of aeronautics, wanted him to follow in his footsteps and pursue a career in the same field.
He attended the Spartan School of Aeronautics (currently known as the Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology) located in the United States.
With advice from his father, he began internship with Cessna in Wichita, Kansas, United States.
In 1975, he returned to Paraguay and began his career as an entrepreneur and founded his first company.
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In 1975, he founded a currency exchange company that would later be known as Banco Amambay.
He became the target of a currency fraud investigation for founding the currency exchange company under the dictatorial command of Alfredo Stroessner.
He spent over four years as a fugitive until his return to Asunción in 1986 where he was incarcerated for 60 days during the investigation of fraud charges.
The alleged fraud charges stemmed from making millions on bank loans that went through the money exchange to purchase farm equipment from the United States.
He served seven months incarceration in 1989 from the charges stemming from the currency exchange company.
He was released from incarceration in 1989 with all the charges of fraud from the currency exchange company dropped and cleared from his record.
By 1992, the currency exchange company known as Banco Amambay became very powerful.
He became a partner at Tabacalera del Este, known as Tabesa, the largest manufacturer of cigarettes in 1994.
In 2000, he denied any involvement regarding a plane landing on his ranch property known as La Esperanza that was carrying 343 kilos of cocaine and marijuana.
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He claimed the plane with the illegal drugs made an emergency landing on his ranch and denied any involvement.
In 2001, he purchased Licorería Acosta, a carbonated beverage manufacturing company originally founded in 1937 by Dr. Maximo Acosta.
In 2004, he was accused by the Brazilian Congress of smuggling cigarettes into their country.
His businesses and companies are called the Grupo Cartes and include concerns such as banking, soft drinks, meat and tobacco.
Prior to 2008 and his interest in political affairs, he was not a registered voter and was not involved in politics or the government.
In 2009, he joined the Colorado Party, a right wing political party founded in 1997.
According to a WikiLeaks release of 2010, he was suspected by the United States government to be involved in laundering drug money.
The Colorado Party was impressed with him and decided to drop the requirement of being a party member for 10 years before becoming eligible to be a presidential candidate in 2013.
His presidential campaign promised to modernize the country’s infrastructure, boost private investments, eradicate corruption in the Colorado Party, embark on agricultural reforms, and improve relationships with other countries.
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Because of his personal fortune, he was able to spend extravagantly on his presidential campaign.
In April 2013, he was elected President of Paraguay by receiving 46 percent of the votes and a term that runs till August 2018.
He took charge as Paraguay’s President on August 15, 2013.
He was given new presidential powers by parliament to take military action against the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) within the first week of office.
As president, he is concerned with addressing the needs of the people and making Paraguay a new and improved country..
He started an emergency program of distributing kits of food to poor citizens to make sure they are receiving quality 2,200 calorie meals that are cheap.
He is trying to expand the emergency food program to include others but discourages any dependency on it.
Awards & Achievements
He has founded and successfully managed over 25 companies throughout his business career.
From 2001 through 2012 he was the president of the Club Libertad, during which the football team won seven tournaments.
In 2010, he served as the president of the Paraguayan Football Association’s national team department during the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.
Personal Life & Legacy
He is married to María Montaña de Cartes and together they have three children - Sofia Cartes, Maria Sol Cartes and Juan Pablo Cartes.
He owns and controls virtually every business within one of the poorest countries in the world including the country’s largest cigarette and carbonated drink manufacturing companies.
He has re-established relationships with Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina - one of the many goals of his presidency.
He claims his success as President will be measured by the decrease of poverty in Paraguay.