Canny dictator of South America's contraband capital dead.

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Canny dictator of South America's contraband capital dead.

Postby elpuma » Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:15 pm

<!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Alfredo Stroessner, the canny anti-Communist general who ruled Paraguay with a blend of force, guile and patronage for 35 years before his ouster in 1989, died in exile today at the age of 93....<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2316075,00.html">Alfredo Stroessner, exiled Paraguayan dictator, dies aged 93</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--><br><br><!--EZCODE QUOTE START--><blockquote><strong><em>Quote:</em></strong><hr>Alfredo Stroessner, the corrupt but canny dictator who has died at the age of 93, was president of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989, ruling the country for longer than anyone in its history. Despite the fraud and repression that marked his rule, his presidency established stability of a kind, and comparative prosperity, in the Paraguayan state after three decades in which the country had had 22 presidents.<br><br>Stroessner ruled by playing off the two great powers in Paraguay, the Colorado party and the army, against one another. He used a purged Colorado party of opposition to oust military rivals and he used the army to crack down on dissent, exiling half of the Colorado deputies in Congress.<br><br>Stroessner once described graft and smuggling as the “price of peace” and under his presidency Paraguay became the contraband capital of South America. His own family firms controlled the national lottery, football pools, hotels and casinos.<br><br>The military ran most of the smuggling rackets, trading in cars stolen from Brazil and Argentina, alcohol and cigarettes. If the US was indifferent to this initially, it became increasingly unhappy as the military turned towards the drugs trade.<br><br>An important rift with Washington developed over the French-born heroin trade king-pin, Auguste Joseph Ricord, the original subject of the film The French Connection, who had settled in Paraguay. After initially refusing to extradite Ricord to the US in 1972, Stroessner finally succumbed under enormous US pressure.<br><br>Eventually human rights abuses, including the use of torture and frequent murders by his security police, prompted a deterioration in relations with Washington, which accelerated after the Reagan administration called his regime a dictatorship.<br><br>During the 1970s and early 1980s, he collaborated with the military regimes in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and Bolivia to hunt down political dissidents. Brazil’s military government was long a strong supporter, supplying him with military and economic aid and helping to feed an economic boom with the building of the hydroelectric dam, Itaipu. Later work was started with Argentina on another great dam project, Yacreta, described subsequently by President Carlos Menem of Argentina as a “monument to corruption”.<br><br>Amidst a thriving culture of graft, Stroessner himself was not noted as conspicuously greedy, though a notorious womaniser. He had no ideology, but his rhetoric was fiercely anti-communist in a country where there was hardly a communist.<br><br>The son of an immigrant from Bavaria who arrived as a tourist and became a prosperous brewer, Stroessner attended military college. Commissioned in 1932, he rose quickly, in 1951 becoming commander in chief of the armed forces. On May 4 1954, he deposed President Federico Chavez and took over as head of state. He faced five attempted coups in five years by exiled politicians, suppressed barrack revolts, forced opponents into exile and virtually extinguished trade unions.<br><br>He had no gift for communication and little charisma, but developed a folksy, paternalistic persona. He became concerned about his own security after the 1980 assassination in Asuncion of the deposed Nicaraguan dictator, Anastasio Somoza, one of many fugitives who settled in the country during the Stroessner years. Others were Josef Mengele, Auschwitz death camp doctor, and Edward Roschmann, the so-called ‘Nazi Butcher of Riga’.<br><br>As Stroessner grew older, his ability to play off the country’s competitors for power declined. A visit to the country by Pope John Paul II in May 1988 prompted a wave of criticism of his government. Stroessner’s legitimate sons lacked the qualities to permit a dynastic succession and Hugo Alfredo, or “Freddie”, a supposed cocaine addict, made a disastrous marriage to the daughter of the powerful General Andres Rodriguez. Rodriguez led a coup against Stroessner in 1989 and became Paraguay’s next president.<br><br>Stroessner was exiled with his family to end his days in Brazil, long his closest ally. In the end he fell victim, as one US academic put it, to a “squabble among thieves without honour”.<hr></blockquote><!--EZCODE QUOTE END--><br><br><!--EZCODE LINK START--><a href="http://www.ft.com/cms/s/76859078-2d5f-11db-851d-0000779e2340.html">Canny ruler of S America’s contraband capital</a><!--EZCODE LINK END--> <p></p><i></i>
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Canny dictator of South America's contraband capital dead.

Postby elpuma » Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:30 pm

I should have added that Stroessner's monument to corruption and contraband remains in full force in <!--EZCODE BOLD START--><strong>Ciudad del Este</strong><!--EZCODE BOLD END--> at the “triple frontier” of Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina. <p></p><i></i>
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