Thursday, August 17, 2006

Meanwhile, in Brasilia

Back in 1984, journalist John Vinocur wrote this in the New York Times Magazine:

“A continual state of siege over the entire period that literally places the president above the law; people with occasionally uncontrollable urges to fall into rivers or jump from planes with their arms and legs bound; serenades in front of the presidential palace featuring the ever-popular ‘Forward, My General’ and ‘Congratulations, My Great Friend’; foreign thieves, brutes and madmen hidden at a price; an economy administered so corruptly it is officially explained away as the ‘cost of peace’ … a party newspaper that prints six front-page colour pictures of the general every day.”

No, Vinocur wasn’t writing about Cuba under the rule of Fidel Castro. He was writing about Paraguay under the rule of General Alfredo Stroessner.

Uncanny, isn’t it?

The reason I am telling you this is because news is just in that Stroessner, who ruled Paraguay for 35 very long years, has died in exile in Brasilia. He was 93 and had lived in Brazil since the 1989 military coup that deposed him. You can read all about it here.

But before we get back to regular programming, here is an assessment of Stroessner (pictured), by a former US ambassador to Paraguay, George Landau: “He believed, as most dictators do, that he was absolutely irreplaceable … "


Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least the Paraguayan guy shaved his beard.

3:15 pm  

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