Paraguay has for many years been characterized by social instability in combination with difficult social conditions. Visit AbbreviationFinder to see the definitions of PRY and acronym for Paraguay. The country is characterized by major class differences and regional differences with the most distorted land distribution in Latin America: 80 percent of the land is owned by less than 10 percent of the population. More than half of the population lives in poverty according to the UN, with the highest figures in rural and urban slums.
State health care expenditures are among the lowest in Latin America. Official unemployment is estimated at about 6 percent (2011), but up to 60 percent work in the informal sector. Like the industrialization, the trade union movement has a short tradition and around 10 percent of the labor force is unionized.
In April 2005, the State Attorney ordered former General and Chief of Defense Staff Alejandro Fretes arrested. He was accused of participating in the South American dictatorship’s coordinated “disappearance” program of leftists in the 1970’s and ’80’s – the so-called Plan Cóndor. The judge who issued the arrest warrant, Gustavo Santander, took into account the ex-general’s high age (84 years), so Fretes is held in house arrest.
The Senate, following pressure from the United States in 2005, passed a law that allows North American freedom and residence in Paraguay, while also depriving the country of its right to investigate crimes committed by foreign soldiers. At the same time, Paraguay waived its right to bring the United States to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which Paraguay has otherwise helped to establish. The legislation was just one more among a number of examples where the United States has put pressure on the foreign government to commit war crimes – such as torture, massacre and murder in Iraq – without being brought before the International Criminal Court. In return for the legislation, Paraguay was promised that the FBIwill participate in the investigation of a number of abduction and extortion cases. However, a large number of NGOs in the country voiced fears that legislation should at the same time pave the way for the establishment of a North American military base in the country.
In March 2006, around 40,000 demonstrated against Duarte’s authoritarian rule. Despite rejection by the opposition and the majority of the media, the president launched a constitutional reform that would allow his reelection.
In March 2007, the government declared the country in a state of emergency following uncontrollable outbreaks of dengue fever. According to official figures, over 16,000 cases were recorded in the first 3 months of the year, while other sources placed the number of sick people over 100,000. The opposition criticized the government for indifference and concentrated its criticism on the director of the National Center for the Eradication of Insect-borne Diseases, Humberto Recalde. He was subsequently fired.
The opposition presidential candidate, Fernando Lugo, won the April 2008 election over the Colorado party’s Blanca Ovelar. The party had been in power for 60 years, and its staging of a female candidate was its last attempt to avert defeat. Lugo has a past as a Catholic bishop, and it was precisely this role that, like many other opposites, he was not killed or disappeared during the United States supported Stroesner’s dictatorship (1954-89). Although he has been compared to other Latin American left-wing presidents such as Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Lugo states that he will follow his own course as president of the poor of Paraguay. At the top of his program is the desire for better land distribution in the country.
After his deployment, Lugo was involved in a number of startling paternity cases in which women claimed he was the father of their children. Relationships that should have happened while Lugo acted as bishop.
Lugo was hated by the nation’s citizenship for advocating land reform, fighting corruption, free health care and cheap housing for the country’s poor. He also had one of the leaders of the Aché people, Margarita Mbywangi as minister of the affairs of the indigenous peoples.
On June 15, 2012, clashes between landless peasants and police attempted to remove them from occupied land. The clash cost 17 killed. The following day, Lugo replaced his Interior Minister and the Chief of the National Police. Five days later, the Chamber of Deputies and the day after the Senate voted first to grant Lugo a court of justice. A decision that was stamped by the Supreme Court. Lugo was thus deposed and replaced by his Vice President Federico Franco. The plot was termed a coup d’état by Lugo himself and most Latin American countries. It confirmed that despite his reform initiatives during his four years in office, he had not been able to clean up the old structures of society from the days of the dictatorship.
The April 2013 parliamentary and presidential election was won by the Colorado party, which had held power for 60 years except for the brief period under Lugo in 2008-12. The party’s presidential candidate Horacio Cartes got 48.5% of the vote. It got 41.5% in the election to the Senate and 41% in the election to the House of Representatives. The downed President Fernando Lugo was elected to the Senate.
One year after the Curuguaty massacre, which cost 11 farmers and 6 policemen the lives, the authorities had not initiated any investigation into the events. Another year later, 12 peasants were put on the indictment for the murder of the 6 policemen, while the killings of the 11 peasants had still not been the subject of investigation.