- "There just don't seem to be many dictators about nowadays. Certainly not here in South America for these are the days of the generals. In most countries the military have got together and thrown out their strongmen. Argentina and Peru, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Guatemala. They've all sent their dictators into exile to live near their numbered bank accounts. But not here. This is Paraguay still firmly in the hands of the last of the hemisphere's old style dictators. A military despot who's ruled his little known land sternly and absolutely for 16 years. His excellency General of the armed forces Don Alfredo Stroessner President of Paraguay a man with power over life and death who's grip shows no sign of weakening who remains The Last Dictator."
- —Introduction to a documentary about Alfredo Stroessner by Alan Whicker 1970
Alfredo Stroessner (November 3rd, 1912 - August 16th, 2006) was a Paraguayan military officer and the country's president from 1954 to 1989. HIs rule was the 14th longest ever by state leaders.
Under Stroessner Paraguay was a leading participant in Operation Condor, a campaign of state-terror and security operations which were jointly conducted by the right-wing military governments of six Latin American countries (Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil). Human rights violations characteristic of those in other Latin American countries such as kidnapping, torture, forced disappearance and extrajudicial killing, were routine and systematic during the Stroessner regime. Following executions, many of the bodies of those killed by the regime were dumped in the Chaco or the Rio Paraguay. The discovery of the "terror archives" in 1992 in the Lambaré suburb of Asunción, confirmed allegations of widespread human rights violations.
Under Stroessner, egregious human rights violations were committed against the Ache Indian population of Paraguay's eastern districts. The Ache Indians resided on land that was coveted by foreign multinationals and had resisted relocation attempts by the Paraguayan army. The government retaliated with massacres and forced many Ache into slavery. In 1974 the UN accused Paraguay of slavery and genocide. During his regime Stroessner also sheltered many exiles including Juan Peron and the Nazi scientist Josef Mengele
Paraguay is a landlocked country. The mighty river of the same name, is divided into two dissimilar parts. These natural conditions make it perfect in there hydropower. For this reason, Stroessner initiated the construction of the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world. After graduating Paraguay has even become an exporter of electricity to neighboring countries and thus contribute to economic development. Another idea Stroessner was 20-acres of separation (at face value) plots to every soldier who has completed the service and agreed to use the resulting land for agricultural purposes. Nearly 10 thousand. soldiers took advantage of this offer.
Stroessner also successfully fought for funding from the U.S. in aid of allies.