20 Years After Stroessner's Fall

Blurry picture of wreath inside the Panteon de los Heroes. (all photos by me!)

The archbishop intones something. (I heard The Godfather in my head.)

Fernando Lugo speaks and remembers those who struggled against the dictatorship.

Two decades to the day after a military coup lead by "Carlos"'s and "Victor"'s, Paraguay has officially celebrated its first commemoration of the fall of the three decade dictatorship. In this morning's wreath-laying ceremony at the Panteon de los Heroes attended by the current administration (including President Fernando Lugo and Vice President Federico Franco), members of human rights organizations, and members of Paraguay's armed forces, the coup leaders were notedly absent. They supposedly were not invited, but it's difficult to ferret out the dynamic between the current government and "Carlos # 3," Lino Oviedo, who's been accused of conspiring against Lugo.
Federico Franco and Fernando Lugo listen to Paraguay's Amnesty International Representative

Possible the most dramatic moment was unscripted: Just before Lugo took the podium to give a speech on human rights, AnanĂ­as Maidana bolted from his seat and shoved his way to the from to demand the right to speak out in memory of the tortured and the disappeared (600 of which are still unaccounted for). Maidana, a political prisoner for 24 years before his exile, was a Colorado incarcerated and tortured for "communist sympathies," without knowing what the word "communist" meant, for protesting the corrupt nepotism of the Stroessner regime. The great irony, of course, is that now he leads the Paraguayan Communist Party.

Maidana pushes past a guard.

And, of course there are many who think Stroessner times weren't so bad--including his grandchildren who don't think of him of as a dictator at all.

The Paraguayan National Anthem, played after Lugo's arrival. (Warning, these are soldiers, not musicians.)

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3 Responses to 20 Years After Stroessner's Fall

Julie said...

Thanks for the warning; it took a minute to realize they were singing (sort of).

On the other hand, singing enthusiastically from your heart can bring more joy than woodenly adhering to melodic line.

Anonymous said...

I am always interested in Alfredo. I am a Stroessner, and I know that my dad's cousin went down to visit Alfredo when he was still around. They were literally given the presidential treatment. I don't know much about Alfredo other than what I have read on wiki. Anyway, that's all I have to say about that.

Anonymous said...

The legacy of Stroessner needs to be unpicked and maybe tie up with what happened before-the wars, the civil wars.


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