Articles by: Benjamin Dangl and April Howard
Now that much of Latin America has shifted to the left, Paraguay remains a key Washington ally. The country’s political landscape continues to be dominated by the Colorado Party, which has been in power for 61 years, the longest continuous rule of any political party in the world. This enormous political machine, much of it built and consolidated during the 35-year military dictatorship (1954–89) of General Alfredo Stroessner, still permeates every inch of Paraguayan society. Yet as the panorama of candidates for the April presidential election makes clear, a new right-wing faction is emerging within the party, pledging to cut the umbilical cord with the past.
When we arrived in Ciudad del Este, we were petrified. After all, we were in the Paraguayan city known in the U.S. press as a “Jungle Hub for World’s Outlaws” (L.A. Times, 8/24/98), and a “hotbed” “teeming with Islamic extremists and their sympathizers” (New York Times, 12/15/02).