MEVES: the chilling virtual museum of "Memory and Truth about Stronismo"

A torture device (la picaña--the cattle prod, used to deliver electric shock to the victim's genitalia).

"Satire of Stronismo"-- Alfredo Stroessner as an octopus with tentacles reaching into every part of the state and of person life.

MEVES, the online museum of Memoria y Verdad sobre el Stronismo, has just launched a brilliant website that is well worth visiting. General Alfredo Stroessner orchestrated a coup (golpe) in 1954 that brought him to power in Paraguay. He ruled for the next 35 years, renewing a 90-day "state of siege" every three months (although he'd lift it for one day--election day--so that he could be re-elected president every five years) until the late 80s.

"Stronismo" is the philosophy and style of government of Stroessner and featured heavy persecution of all kinds of opposition under the guise of anti-communism. Not only was communism made illegal (punishable by 20 years incarceration), but anyone opposed to Stroessner's regime was labeled a communist, including members of Stroessner's own Colorado Party who disagreed with him. 90% of all political prisoners were tortured.

Key to all of this was a sophisticated Intelligence Service run out of the Ministry of the Interior, which spied on, detained, tortured, executed, and disappeared tens of thousands of Paraguayans (and not a few foreigners) from 1954-1989. This period is referred to as the "terror" and is documented in great detail by that very regime in its police/investigation/military archives known as the "Archive of Terror" (Archivo del Terror, which was unearthed in 1992). In addition to forced confessions, psychiatric evaluations of prisoners, and confiscated mail, it also contains thousands of reports from secret informants and even (unheeded) requests from the BDR to help locate Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele.

MEVES chronicles the deterioration of human rights during the Stroessner regime.

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