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Interpersonal Relationships and Caudillismo in Paraguay Author(s): Frederic Hicks Reviewed work(s): Source: Journal of Interamerican Studies and

World Affairs, Vol. 13, No. 1 (Jan., 1971), pp. 89-111 Published by: Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Miami Stable URL: . Accessed: 04/05/2012 02:22
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Department of Anthropology University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky


has a relativelyopen (for LatinAmerica) class structure, araguay a strongnationalconsciousness, a two-party politicalsystem,and mass involvementin nationalpolitics, all of which are features that some writers' believe should be associatedwith representative democracyof the North Americantype. In Paraguay,however,these featuresare associatedwith, and in fact reinforce,a political systemwhich for most of the past centuryhas consistedof a series of conservative and unstabledictatorships. It will be suggestedin this paper that this associationis made possible by the developmentof certainkinds of interpersonal relationships 2 since they bind two individwhichhave been called "dyadiccontracts" or colleaguerelationships. uals in eitherpatron-client relationships They take variousinstitutionalized forms in many peasant societies that lack
* Materialfor this paper was gathered, at first casually and only later systematically, between March 1963 and September 1965 while I was a visiting professor of anthropology at the Universidad Nacional de Asuncion under the Fulbright-Hays program.I have not been able to keep in touch with developmentsin Paraguaysince leaving that country, however, so except where otherwise noted, the political system is here describedas it was in 1965. 1 E.g., Theodore Wyckoff, "The Role of the Military in Latin American Politics," Western Political Quarterly 13 (September 1960): 745-763. 2 George M. Foster, "The Dyadic Contract: A Model for the Social Structure of a Mexican Peasant Village," American Anthropologist 63 (December 1961): 1173-1192; idem. "The Dyadic Contract in Tzintzuntzan, II: Patron-Client Relationships,"ibid. 65 (December 1963): 1280-1294.




corporatedescent groups,havingbeen describedfor Italy,3Spain,4and as well as Latin America.Amongtheir effectsis to link the Philippines,5 the peasantryand otherlower class sectorsto the elite, includingthe poWhatseemsdisliticalelite. Thiseffecthas been notedin manycountries. is the way the dyadiccontractcomplexis linked tinctiveaboutParaguay the to the nationalpoliticalpartysystem.This has the effectof politicizing peasantry (and the urban lower classes), yet directing their political energiesto the supportof conservativegroupswhich do not usually act in theirinterest.It is also relatedto the preservation(in modifiedform) of caudillismo,a political system involvinga successionof leaders who achieve power chiefly throughviolence with the supportof a personal followingwhich expects a share of the spoils that accrue to the powerholder.6

politicalsystembeganto take shape in the The presentParaguayan decadesfollowingthe Warof the TripleAlliance (1865-1870), in which foughtthe combinedforces of Brazil,Argentina,and Uruguay. Paraguay the country,wiped out an estiThe war, whichParaguay lost, devastated mated one-halfof its population,and broughtwidespread political,economic,and socialdisruption. Politically,the relativeisolationof the countryunderits three great dictators,GasparRodriguezde Francia (1814-1840), Carlos Antonio Lopez (1844-1862), and FranciscoSolanoL6pez (1862-1870), ended with the death in the war of the youngerLopez. Under the eyes of the was drawnup by a numBrazilianoccupationforces, a new constitution who had fled theircountrybeforethe liberalParaguayans ber of educated war andin manycases foughton the side of the Allies for the purpose,as they saw it, of liberatingtheir countryfrom the tyrannyof Lopez. The new constitution,which remainedin effect until 1940, provided for a with an electedpresidentand a bicameral government, liberal,democratic
3 Jeremy Boissevain, "Patronagein Sicily," Man, new ser., 1, no. 1 (March 1966): 18-33; Sydel F. Silverman, "Patronage and Community-Nation Relationships in Central Italy," Ethnology 4, no. 2 (April 1965): 172-189. 4 Michael Kenny, "Patterns of Patronage in Spain," Anthropological Quarterly 33 (January 1960): 14-23. 5 Mary R. Hollensteiner, "Social Structure and Power in a Philippine Municipality,"in Jack M. Potter et al, eds., Peasant Society: A Reader (Boston: Little-Brown, 1967), pp. 200-212. 6 Merle Kling, "Toward a Theory of Power and Political Instability in Latin America," WesternPolitical Quarterly 9 (March 1956): 21-35; Eric R. Wolf and EdwardC. Hansen, "CaudilloPolitics: A StructuralAnalysis," ComparativeStudies in Society and History 9, no. 2 (January 1967): 168-179.



legislature,freedomof the press,universalsuffrage,and the inviolability of privateproperty.Although an enlighteneddocumentfor its time, it was the productof a foreignculture,imposedupon Paraguayand quite aliento the Paraguayan tradition. Many landownershad abandonedtheir propertiesin their flight to escape the war'sdevastation. After the war, the countrywas opened up to hordes of adventurers and speculators,of diverse nationalities,who condipouredin to take advantage, for personalgain, of the disorganized tions and the corruption which soon prevailed.A series of questionable financialmachinations plungedthe countryever deeperinto debt. A way out of the financial foundin the sale problemswas eventually of publiclands.Between 1883 and 1887, a seriesof laws were passedto permitthe sale of vast quantities of state-owned lands, inherited fromthe Lopez era or acquiredaftertheirownershad abandoned them duringthe war,and whichmeanwhile had been occupiedby peasantsor smallfarmers. The lands were sold exclusivelyin large parcels,at prices that were low but too highfor the pennilessParaguayan extremely peasants,andthe conditionsof sale were such that few but foreignerscould meet them. Withinten years, virtuallyall of the productive,accessiblepublic lands were owned by foreigners,for the most part land speculatorswho lived outsideParaguay. As a resultof the landsales, thousands of peasantswere drivenfrom lands which, in some cases, they had occupiedfor generations. With no place to go, many sufferedextremeprivation.Working conditions,for those few able to find work, got steadilyworse. For the first time, Paraguayans in appreciable numbersbegan to emigratefrom theircountry.7 It was underthese conditionsof defeat, foreign economicdomination, and economicinsecuritythat the modernParaguayan politicalsystem began.The system as it developedwas adaptedto these conditions, whichrecallthose prevalentearlierin many other parts of Latin America when caudillismoas a politicalsystem developed,8and underwhich, in Kling'sanalysis,9 chronicpoliticalinstabilityshouldprevail.They also recall those of Sicily, for which Boissevain'0has describeda system of patronagesimilar to that of Paraguay.While today it is doubtfulthat foreign economic dominationand economic insecurityare appreciably greaterin Paraguaythan in most Latin Americancountries,their forms
7 Alcides Codas Papaluca', Cuestiones rurales del Paraguay (Buenos Aires:

Editorial Tupa, 1949); Carlos Pastore, La lucha por la tierra en el Paraguay: proceso historico y legislativo (Montevideo: Editorial Antequera, 1949). 8 Wolf and Hansen, "CaudilloPolitics." 9 Kling, "Theoryof Power." 10 Boissevain, "Patronagein Sicily."



have undergone littlechangesince the late nineteenth century.The political system,with its patternof patronageand instability,1'still bears the marksof the conditions underwhich it arose, and to some extentit functions to maintain thoseconditions. The two politicalpartieswhichstill today dominatethe politicallife of Paraguay trace their originsback to two rival clubs, of limited membershipand influence,that were formedshortlyafter the war. They did not beginto organizeon a nationalscale, however,until 1887. In June of that year,a groupof businessmen, formed professionals, and intellectuals
the Centro Democratico, later called the Partido Liberal, to defend their

interestsagainst a clique which, with the support of the government, threatened to monopolizeeconomicopportunities. In response,members of the government under the leadershipof the president,GeneralBernardinoCaballero, formedin September of that year the AsociacionNacional Republicana, also called the Partido Colorado after the red banner it adoptedas its emblem(the Liberalsadoptedthe color blue). 12

Througha networkof friendships, patron-clientrelationships,and in one or the otherof the two partiesspread groupinterests,membership throughout the country,involvingpeople of all social classes, so that today the membership of the two partiesis assumedto be about equal. To the extent that ideologieswere involved,both partiesadoptedthe liberal reflected principles thatwerethe orderof the day, but partyaffiliation primarilypersonalloyalties,not politicalprinciples. Historianswritethat the Coloradopartyruleduntil 1904, when the in 1936Liberalerabegan,lastinguntil 1941 exceptfor a brief interlude of Morinigo,a nonpartyman, which 1937. Then came the dictatorship lasteduntil the revolutionof 1947, when the Coloradosregainedpower, which they hold to this day. In reality, however, there has rarelybeen At riskof muchpartycohesion.Factionalsplitshave occurred repeatedly.
11 At this writing, President Alfredo Stroessnerhas succeeded in holding office for more than fifteen years, longer than any president since Carlos Antonio Lopez, and many Paraguayansunderstandablyregardthis as "political stability."However, he has retained office simply by being able to triumph over all attempts to oust him so far, or, as Kling (see footnote 6) would put it, by "a series of successful anticipatory revolts." 12 Policarpo Artaza, Que hizo el Partido Liberal en la oposici6n y en el gobierno (Buenos Aires: Talleres Graficos Lucania, 1961), pp. 15-19; Justo Pastor social del pueblo paraguayo (Asuncion & Buenos Aires: EdiBenitez, Formaci6on torial America-Sapucai,1955), pp. 152-153, 165; Carlos P. Centuri6n, Historia de la cultura paraguaya I (Asuncion: Biblioteca "Ortiz Guerrero", 1961), pp. 408413; Justo Prieto, Paraguay, la provincia gigante de las Indias (Buenos Aires: Libreria-Editorial"El Ateneo", 1951), pp. 132, 195; Paul H. Lewis, The Politics of Exile: Paraguay's Febrerista Party (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1968), pp. 17-25.



saythatit is commonfor factions one canperhaps grossoversimplification, to developwithinthe partyin power over the divisionof the spoils, and in the partyout of poweroverthe best way to get in. The violence which political life is due as much to Paraguayan has so often characterized these factionalsplits as to the rivalrybetweenthe two parties.'3 Effortsto establishthird parties or new political movementshave been madefromtimeto time, but they have not had lastingsuccess.Durof nationalism in the 1920s and 1930s, therewas much ing theresurgence 14 A Communist party was formed, talk of buildinga "New Paraguay." few urbanworkers.More andit madesomeheadwayamongthe country's party,originallycomposedof the followers important was the Febrerista of Chaco War hero Colonel Rafael Franco, who held the presidency brieflyfollowinga coup in February,1936. More recently, a Christian in 1960, and it becamea political Democratic movementwas established party in 1965. Today, the Febreristaand ChristianDemocraticparties both have legal status, but they have few adherentsoutside the urban continuetheir allegiance of Paraguayans bourgeoisie.15 The vast majority to one or the otherof the two "traditional" parties,Coloradoand Liberal. This is despite the fact that these parties are both avowedly "rightist," while the smallerpartiesespouse programswhich might be expectedto havewidemassappeal. Both of the traditional parties are, however,affectedby factionalism. Shortlyafter the revolutionof 1947, the Coloradoparty split into and while these factions known as "GuionRojo" and "Democratico," factionshave not yet been completelyamalgamated, they work together by a new now on a nationallevel and have becomelargelyovershadowed generationof Coloradosowing allegianceonly to PresidentStroessner, who, as head of the armedforces, seized the presidencyin 1954 and has held it since that time. A dissidentColoradofactionknown as the Movi13 Artaza, Partido Liberal, pp. 33-38; Manuel J. Cibils, Anarquia y revolucion en el Paraguay (Buenos Aires: Editorial Americalee, 1957), pp. 29-31; Lewis, Politics of Exile, pp. 25-37; Pastore, Tierra en Paraguay, pp. 144ff; Rodolfo Rivarola, "El Paraguay Politico", Revista Argentina de Ciencias Politicas, Afio 1, 2 (1911): 5-23; Harris G. Warren,Paraguay, an Informal History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1949), pp. 265-268. 14 Harris G. Warren, "Political Aspects of the Paraguayan Revolution, 19361940," Hispanic American Historical Review 30 (February 1950): 2-25. 15 The Febrerista party has repeatedly split into factions, usually identifiable as "left" or "right",over ideological and tactical issues (see Lewis [footnote 12] for a summary and analysis of these schisms). Generally the more conservative factions have remained active in Paraguay, while the more radical ones have continued their separate organizations in exile. The latter sometimes make news with declarations issued in exile, but their impact on affairs inside Paraguay is negligible.



mientoPopularColorado(MOPOCO), formedbetween1955 and 1958, both inside and outside of Paraguay.The Liberal operatesclandestinely in the fixed partysplit into factionsin 1963 overthe issue of participation electionsof thatyear (they were offeredone-thirdof the seats presidential or two, regardlessof vote count, if in congressand one ambassadorship recognizedthe in the elections). The government they would participate as the only legal Liberal factionthatfavoredparticipation smalldissident of the Liberalsremainedaloof until 1966, when they party.The majority acceptedlegal recognitionunder the name PartidoLiberalRadical, but factionof the Liberalparty. to be the majority they arestillunderstood at periodicintervals(every held customarily are elections National these been credibletests of have ever if rarely fiveyears, normally),but the dominantparty's which popularpolitical preferences.Elections in have been the opposition, token only runsunopposed,or with candidate as the another to party rule. Politicalpower has never passed from one it ever that doubt Paraguayans resultof an election, and knowledgeable will underthe presentpoliticalsystem.

Paraguayis a relativelyhomogeneousnation culturally,and its social class systemis not markedby the rigidbarriersto mobilitythat are In of the Andean countries and Central America.1,6 so characteristic the laboringpeon class from the greatsocialgulfthatseparates particular, the non-peonclasses in those countriesis virtuallyabsent.Indeed,many do not hold almostas a dogmathat social class differences Paraguayans is a real one, The difference existin theircountry,only wealthdifferences. but it Wealthof coursebringsadvantages, althoughit can be overstated. thatbrings statusor cultural background, wealth,not ascribed is primarily Politicalactivityandthe fruitsof such activityarenot expectedto them.17 be withheldfrom any sector of society because of its wealth, education, or occupation. background, with a difference whichperhapsbest correlates The socialdistinction in politicalbehavioris that between people with a cosmopolitan,someon the one hand, and people urbanculturalorientation, whatintellectual, less intellectually inclined,on the other. of a moreprovincialorientation,
16 Ralph L. Beals, "Social Stratification in Latin America," American Jour-

nalof Sociology 58 (January 1953): 327-339. 17 The distinction between the baile oficial and the baile popular, which the Services found so useful as an indicator of class differences in Tobati (see Elman R. Service and Helen S. Service, Tobati: Paraguayan Town [Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1954J,pp. 136-137) is either absent or much less formalized in many Paraguayan communities, and is definitely on the decline.



This is not entirelya wealthdifference, for the social systemprovidesopportunitiesfor membersof the latter groupto become wealthy (usually throughthe armedservices,politics,or commercial and stockagriculture raising) withoutacquiring an urban,cosmopolitanorientation. It is only a somewhatmore rural-urban difference,because even Asuncion, the capitaland largestcity, is sufficiently provincial,so that the contrastbetween it and manyruraltowns is not extreme.A moderatelyurban environmentand a certainminimumof economicresourcesare necessary for the acquisition of a cosmopolitan outlookand the values that go with it but do not assuretheir acquisition. The associateddifferencein political behavioris this: the cosmopolitan, urban-oriented intellectualtends to be concernedwith political principles andideologiesandmayregardpoliticsas a potentialinstrument for bringingaboutsocial or economicchange.He knowsfrom his formal educationthat this is what politicsis supposedto be about.The less cosmopolitan,more provincially-oriented persons-and such are of course the vast majority-see politics primarilyor exclusively as a means of manipulating people so as to achieve advancement and power for themselves or their clique. To them, politics is "politicking"-politiqueria. Mostof whatis writtenaboutpoliticsin Paraguay is writtenby members of the intellectual,cosmopolitangroup. It is primarilymembersof this group also that are attractedto the newer, smaller, ideologicallyorientedparties.The larger,traditionalparties, however,provide more opportunities for advancement throughpoliticalactivity,especiallyin the rural areas. So these parties have greaterappeal for people of a more provincial, less intellectual orientation. of social class, Paraguayans have a highlydevelopednaRegardless tional consciousness. There are no patriaschicas in Paraguay; there is a good deal of geographicalmobility and very little regional variation.18 Almost withoutexception,sentimentsand loyalties are directedtoward the nation, not toward any particularlocality within it. This, plus the relativelyopen class structure, meansthat Paraguayans of all classes and regionscan have the satisfactionof being involvedin a form of political on a naactivitywhich,as will be seen, bringsrewardsand is significant tional scale; but their involvementdoes not lead to politically-initiated the lowerclasses,and this is largelythe resultof the way changesfavoring the dyadiccontractworksin a politicalcontext.
18 Domingo M. Rivarola, "Bases preliminarespara el estudio de la movilidad social en el Paraguay,"Revista Paraguaya de Sociologia, Anio 1, no. 1 (SeptemberDecember 1964), pp. 9-29.




counLike many Latin Americancountries-and underdeveloped means of prothe world-Paraguay has few impersonal tries throughout none for its inhabitants. It had virtually vidingeconomicandlegalsecurity in the decadesfollowingthe Warof the TripleAlliance,whenthe present political system was taking form. For people of the lower Paraguayan classes, the social welfare programsare inadequateto meet the need, and court or bureaufor secureemployment, there are few opportunities On beyond their level of sophistication. are invariably craticprocedures the uppersociallevels, therehas in the past been relativelylittle dependfavoritism protectionof businessinterests;government able government have addedto investas well as economicfluctuations, and arbitrariness, for Paraguayannationals. ment risks, particularly These conditionshave led to the developmentof other means of providingthe individualwith the securityhe needs. These means are of ties of mutualloyalty and obligationon a based on the establishment basis. They take variousforms, dependingon the conperson-to-person text and the statusof the personinvolved,but for the most part are of the 19 since basicallythey are type that Fosterhas called "dyadiccontracts," two types of dyadicconFosterdistinguishes ties bindingtwo individuals. relationships"tie in Mexico. Colleague Tzintzuntzan, operating tract equal socioeconomicstatus, who expeople of equal or approximately relachangethe same kinds of goods and services,"while patron-client
tionships "tie people . . . of significantly different socioeconomic status

(or order of power), who exchange differentkinds of goods and sermay create a network vices."20 The proliferation of such relationships virtuallythe entiresociety, but it will be a networkbased on permeating ratherthan on class unity and opposition. individual relationships, is the well-knowninstitution One form of patron-client relationship of compadrazgo-ritual co-parenthood-which is widespreadthroughwith servesto providethe individual out the Latinworld.This institution andrespona number withwhomhe is linkedby obligations of pseudo-kin primarily it is important sibilitieswhichincludemutualaid.2'In Paraguay in the rural areas, and, as in many other countries, compadres (coparents) are often chosen not merely out of friendshipbut with a view toward cementing relationshipsof certain useful kinds. A conscious
Foster, "Dyadic Contract." p. 1281. Foster, "DyadicContractin Tzintzuntzan," Sidney W. Mintz and Eric R. Wolf, "An Analysis of Ritual Co-Parenthood (Compadrazgo)," SouthwesternJournal of Anthropology 6 (Winter 1950): 341368; Service and Service, Tobati, pp. 126-127.
19 20 21



effortis often made to obtaincompadres for oneself, and padrinos(godfathers) for one's offspring, who would be able to provideeconomicassistanceor influenceshouldcircumstances make this necessary.The man who is potentially in a positionto give aid (the patron) receivesfromthe relationship the loyaltyof his clientcompadre and feels freeto call on him for such assistance as he can provide,includingassistance whichcan only be effectiveif it is voluntary,such as votes or theirfunctionalequivalent and talk whichwill promotea favorableimage for the patronamonghis client'sassociates.22 A less institutionalized form of patron-client relationship is exemplifiedby a behaviorpatterngenerally called "paternalism" which,primarily in employer-employee is characteristic relationships, of much of Latin America.23Typically, and especially in small concerns which are not unionized,the employeris expectedto displaya certainsense of noblesse obligewhichmay requirehim to providefor his workersmore thantheir usuallymeagerwage. He may be expectedto pay a worker'smedicalexpensesor the school expensesof his children,to pay a large shareof the funeralexpensesof a formerworker,andto advanceloans.24 The worker, for his part,may often be calledupon to providepersonalservicesfor his employerbeyondwhatwouldusuallybe expectedof him in highlyindustrializedcountries.Elmanand Helen Service'sdescription of peasantbehaviorin a wage workingcontext in Tobati, in this case involvingvery small rural concerns,applies to most smallerParaguayan communities andto a largeextentto smallerconcernsin Asuncionas well. The attitude is somewhatas if the employer(patron) were doingthe employeea favor by hiringhim and, to at least an equaldegree,the employeeis doing the for him.The exchangeof moneyis playeddown patr6na favorby working as if it wereonly a minorpartof the arrangement. It is not unusualfor the employerto become the padrinoof one of the employee'schildren,so that the two men becomecompadres, but this is not a necessarypart of the pattern.The breakingof the employeremployee relationshipbecomes a delicate matter, as both parties are consideredto be bound by ties that go beyond the purely economic, even if the compadrerelationshipis not present.25 This does not mean that wage work is in itself undesirable.On the contrary,a steady job,
22 Service and Service, Tobat4,chap. 12; cf. for Mexico, Foster, "The Dyadic Contract in Tzintzuntzan,"pp. 1283-1284. 23 Robert J. Alexander, Today's Latin America (Garden City: Doubleday Anchor Books, 1962), pp. 88-90. 24 Frederic Hicks and Egidio Picchioni, "Algunos aspectos de la industria-

lizacion en una comunidad paraguaya," Suplemento Antropol6gico de la Revista del

Ateneo Paraguayo 2, no. 1 (Diciembre 1966): 31-54. 25 Service and Service, Tobati, pp. 126-127.



with a regularsalary, is a very attractivealternativeto the subsistence

farmerwhose sole monetaryincome, if any, comes from the small surplus his wife may be able to sell. However,if the peasantmust abandon hardhe is likely to sufferextraordinary farmingto take up employment, hence the effortto createpersonalbonds ship if he is suddenlydismissed; of a morepermanent nature. are of approxiin which the participants Colleaguerelationships,26 in Paraguay mainlyin the uppersociomatelyequalstatus,are important economic strata. It is considereda friendlygesture, if not actually an obligationof friendship,to grant to friends, and of course to relatives also,27what favors one can by virtue of one's position, knowledge,or skills.It is assumedthat the favor will be returnedshouldan appropriate occasionpresentitself.A friendin customsgets one'spackageout quickly a friendin the railwayadministration gets one a and with little formality; sleeperreservation on short notice; a memberof the oppositionLiberal job, a youth of Liberalparentsgains easy partyretainshis government remainsunadmittance to the nationalcolegio, or a left-wingFebrerista molested because they have Coloradofriends or relativesin high governmentpositions.One is not expectedto wait his turn and complywith if he has a friendthrough all the formaldetailsof a bureaucratic procedure whomhe can by-passthem,andthe friendwouldbe hurtif the favorwere not askedof him. MostParaguayans wouldbe shockedif thiswerecalled"corruption." of a in it, it is seen simplyas a manifestation To thosewho can participate characteristic trait of friendlinessand hospitalityof which Paraguayans are justifiably very proud. They emphasizethat no money ever changes The point bribewouldbe extremely improper. hands;to offeran outright on the partof the person is thatby doinga favor,one createsan obligation favoredto returnit, while briberycreatesno such tie. It is rumoredthat but it is said to be confinedto the some briberydoes occurin Paraguay, and I suspectthat, highestlevels of the politicalor militarybureaucracy, or otherswith whomenduring reciproif so, it involvesmainlyforeigners cannotbe established. cal obligations The emphasison reciprocal loyalitiesand obligations,as manifested culture is a theme of Paraguayan in the system of dyadicrelationships, in the realmof politics.It can functionto thatfindsits naturalexpression with largepersonalfollowingswhichthey can providecertainindividuals
Foster, "Dyadic Contract in Tzintzuntzan,"p. 1281. For the purposes of this paper I believe that kinship ties may be treated as dyadic relationships;they are often very strong but still dyadic.
26 27



use to political advantage.28It forms the basis for caudillismo, a political system which, I would maintain, is still very much alive in Paraguay, not

only on a local level in ruralareasbut on a nationallevel as well, involving the highestofficesin the government. Wolf and Hansen29 have arguedthat as a politicalsystem,caudillismo (or as these authorsterm it, caudillaje) began to give way in the 1870s, when the particularbalance between landowningcriollo, lower class mestizo, and foreigninterests,on which the system depended,was I wouldsuggest,howupsetby a shiftin the natureof foreigninvestment. caudillismo is somewhat modified,andnecesever,thatwhileParaguayan sarily more discreetthan the form which was so prevalentthroughout LatinAmericaa centuryago, its essentialfeaturesare still presenttoday. the authorThesefeaturesincludepersonalrule (ratherthanrulethrough by buildingup a loyal personal ity vestedin a politicaloffice) maintained following, a following which is retained by rewards of wealth or the power to bestow patronagethroughcontrol of access to the sources of

The core of this followingis said to consist of a group of military officers who arePresident Stroessner's closestassociates.31Althoughoften rank (majors or colonels, usually), and holding titles of intermediate
which in some cases sound inconsequential (e.g., chief of the military

commander of the presidential escortbatallion), cabinetof the presidency, they are in fact amongthe most powerfulmen in the country.They includethose in actualcommandof troops,and theirloyaltyis retainedby Many of the grantingthem unusual opportunitiesfor self-enrichment. in the country(and a few in neighbormorelucrativebusinessenterprises ing Brazil) belong to militarymen. The various expandingstate enterprises-the alcohol monopoly, meat packing and export, shipping,the railway,an airline,electricpower-provide sourcesof wealthand patronage easily disposableas rewards.Rumorscirculatingin 1964 were that one of the most powerfulmilitaryunits receiveda regularsum siphoned
28 Ramiro Dominguez, "El valle y la loma: comunicacion en comunidades rurales,"Suplemento Antropologico de la Revista del Ateneo Paraguayo 1, no. 2 (February 1966): 127-242. 29 Wolf and Hansen, "Caudillo Politics," pp. 177-178. 30 Domingo M. Rivarola, "Universidady estudiantes en una sociedad tradicional," Aportes 12 (Abril 1969): 63-64. 31 The statements in the remainder of this paragraph cannot, of course, be documented, and I must present them simply as rumors. These and others like them, however, come with great consistency from a diversity of sources, and I have no doubt that they are true in essence, if not always accurate in detail. I present them despite the lack of substantiation because the Paraguayan political system cannot be understood without taking this kind of information into account.



off from the state alcoholmonopolyto retainits loyalty. The large-scale items of all kinds, which is carriedon quite openly trafficin contraband throughoutthe country,is generallyunderstoodto be run by military that prevails men. They are also said to directmuch of the cattle-stealing in the more remoteparts of the country.Men in these positions can in and can grant turncontrolthe accessof othersto economicopportunities suchaccessas favors. international however,lest Paraguay's It mustall be done discreetly, relationsbe jeopardized.The picture conveyed by Wolf and Hansen32 of predatoryarmedbands more or less openly engagingin "the systeto presentis too grossto applygenerally maticpillageof 'free'resources" machismo,he Whileno one doubtsPresidentStroessner's day Paraguay. His very obscurityhowpublicpersonality. is certainlynot a flamboyant attentionto it. ever,helpspreservethe systemby not callinginternational by officials,and Visitingjournalistsare viewed with great apprehension effectivebecause it much of the press censorship,which is particularly ratherthan on official relies on informalpressuresand understandings decrees,seems designedsimply to preventParaguayfrom becomingan newscenter. international Possiblythe caudillosystempersistsin Paraguaytoday becausethe altered, to abovehas not yet been sufficiently referred balanceof interests betweenthe dyadiccontractcombut it may also be that the relationship politicalparty system has enabledit to survive plex and the traditional In any case, its existenceas a system some degreeof economicalteration. and many considerit a praiseworthy by most Paraguayans, is recognized system-despite its more predatoryaspects, which they shrug off as somethingone mustput up with for the sake of peace. system,however,because it funcIt is by its naturea conservative which the people involved, tions by utilizingexistingpowerrelationships whetheras patronsor as clients,are obligedto maintain.Lackingthe experience for betteringone's condition throughhard work or business by allyinghimselfwith someonealready acumen,one seeks advancement in a position to bestow favors. As the Servicesnoted, "the most usual responsefrom a peasantwho is queriedabouthis economicor technical difficulties is not that he needs a good steel plow, better seed, or a yoke of oxen, but that he needs a good patronwho will help him."33 An individual who is sufficientlyadept may be able to work his way up the politicalladderthroughthe system, so there is a turnoverof personnel, but neitherthe system nor the existingpower relationshipsare thereby
32 33

Wolf and Hansen, "Caudillo Politics." Service and Service, Tobati, p. 125.



changed. In fact, the system provides a certain amount of opportunity for

people of relativelyhumbleoriginto achievea moderately high political position,and manywho considerthemselvesaristocrats are annoyedthat they must deal with such "simplebrutes"as often occupy positions of authority.

The moststriking featureof Paraguayan politicsis the near-universal adhesionto one or the otherof the two traditional politicalparties,Colorado andLiberal.The vast majorityof Paraguayans, ruraland urban,of all social classes and in all but the most remotepartsof the country,see themselvesas belongingto one or the other of these parties,whetheror not they areformallyinscribed in the partyrolls.34 One is expectedto remain alwaysloyal to his party;to change one's party affiliationis consideredlittle short of treasonous.Except for membersof the cosmopolitan, intellectualclass concernedwith such matters,this loyalty does not involve the ideology or programof the party, of which most people are only vaguelyaware,but the symbolsand slogansof the party.The party leadersare not above criticism,but howeverbitterlyan individual member may criticizethem, he always affirmshis unwavering loyalty to the party. Once one does become allied with a particularpolitical leader, however,he is expected to remainloyal to him. This means that in a politicalcontest,for example,one shouldvote with the man to whom one owes loyaltyand shouldremainloyal to the candidate this man supports, whetherhe wins or loses. Consequently, voting (for example,in an election of local party officials) frequently results in the formation of factions,

as the followersof the losing candidatequite commonly (normally,accordingto many Paraguayans)refuseto reuniteand cooperatewith the winner.35
Thus factions readily form, and the existence of factional splits within a political party, on either a national or a local level, is perhaps the second most striking feature of Paraguayan politics. The factions formed

afterone electiontend to endurefor long periodsof time, the same ones appearingin election after election. This is understandable considering that elections seldom involve ideologicalissues but rather are contests
34 At present the Liberal party is split into what are officially two parties (see below). Similar situations have existed in the past and have so far always proved ephemeral. 35 This pattern is apparentlynot limited to political elections among the rural or provincially-orientedsector. I know of at least one such case involving an election among the highly-educatedmembership of a professional society in Asuncion.



for positionsfrom which to form a power base throughopportunityto bestow patronage.The candidate'ssupportersare those who hope for suitablerewardsif he wins. If he loses, they can expect no consideration fromthe man they opposed,who is obligedto rewardonly his supporters. Indeed,he rarelyhas the meansto tempthis formeropponentsafterrewardinghis supporters, who would in any case resentfurtherdivisionof theirshareof the spoils. Theoretically, a particularly successfulfactional leadermightbecome so successfulas to acquirea largerfollowingthan he could reward,but the two-partysystemprecludessuch an eventuality by placinga limit on the numberof followersthat even the most successful leadercan acquire,since they can be drawnonly from his own party. Thus the best course of action for followersof a losing candidateis to stickwiththe manthey supported andhope for betterluck next time. One who switchesallegiancesis clearlynot to be trusted;since it is unlikely that he would do so out of a change in his convictions,his motivation couldonly be personalgain. It follows from this that, aside from the urban,intellectual,cosmopolitan class, everyonemust have an "opini6n"-a commitmentto one or another partyor faction.One does not knowhow to deal with a person withoutknowingwhat his politicalaffiliation is. One does not know how to interpret nor how one's own will be interpreted. his statements, Since are fully awareof the functionalrelationships betweenpoliParaguayans tics and so many other aspects of their culture,few topics of conversation can long remainwholly free of political implications; so one quite commonlyfeels uneasy talkingwith someone whose political affiliation is unknown.If a person attemptsto maintaina position of aloofnessor neutrality,he is likely to be regardedwith suspicionand mistrusted by nearlyeveryone.People often expresstheirdissatisfaction with such perwhichis understood sons by callingthem "Communists," to mean someone who worksundercover towardsubversive and vaguelyevil ends. The truthis probablythat lack of a partyor factionalcommitment is an indicationnot of one's politicalbeliefsbut of his attitudetowardsociety. He declines to be either client or patron;he presumesneither to need the supportof his fellows nor to offer his own. A sincerelyneutralperson could only be antisocial,or if not that, then a spy or otherwisesomehow

The foregoingdescription appliesto the vast majorityof Paraguayurbanintellectuals ans but not to all. A greatmany of the cosmopolitan, have eitherbecome disillusioned with the two traditional altogether par36 Frederic Hicks, "Politics, Power, and the Role of the Village Priest in Paraguay,"Journalof Inter-AmericanStudies 9 (April 1967): 273-282.



ties or cynicallyseek to take advantage of the prevailing patternof party membership to suit their own purposes.From the formergrouparisethe leaders of the newer and smaller parties, such as the Febreristaand Christian and thosewho Democratic, plus the occasionaltrueCommunist aresimplyapolitical. Fromthe lattergrouparedrawnmanyof the holders of civilianpoliticalposts, plus the inevitablebureaucrat who has learned to adjustto the situationas it is and to aniembotavy, that is, to appearto accepteverything in innocentgood faith and retaina satisfactory middleclass job. But there are also many membersof this class, includingsome of the country'sforemostintellectuals, who are just as firmlyloyal to the symbolsandtraditions of theirpartyas is any peasantand whose view of politicsis muchthe same.

On the local level party membersare organizedinto territorially based wards, called seccionalesin case of the Colorados,and comites in the case of the Liberals.In theoryand to a large extentin practice,the entirecountryis dividedinto wardswhose boundaries generallycoincide with otheradministrative boundaries, such as distritos(units comparable to New Englandtownshipsor smallSouthern counties), barrios(wards) of cities, etc.37It is on this level that votingbehaviorand otherforms of politicalactivitycan be most easily observedin Paraguay. The party membersof each ward elect a comision, or governing body, which is chargedwith the task of mobilizingthe party members and, particularly in the case of the Coloradoseccionales,exercisingvigilanceoverthe opposition. Sincethe Colorado partyis in power,the leaders of its seccionalesoften play important roles in local politicalaffairs,and, especiallyin small communities, the presidencyof the seccionalis generallyconsideredone of the threemost important politicalpositions,the othersbeing that of intendente,or mayor (in those towns large enough to have this office), and that of police comisario.The activitiesof the seccionalesand comiteswill presentlybe examinedin more detail,but it willbe worthwhile to examinefirstthe electoralprocedure. Unfortunately, I have sufficient data only for the Coloradoparty. Each seccionalis governedby a comision of from twelve to thirty members,consistingof a president,one to three vice-presidents, one or two secretaries, a treasurer, andmembers-at-large (vocales). This leadership is electedby the vote of all Coloradopartymembersin the wardand
37 In Asuncion, for example, there are (as of 1965) twenty-five Colorado seccionales, which are divided into subseccionales,and a reportedforty-six orthodox Liberal (now Radical Liberal) comite's.



holds office for three years. The election is supervisedby the Junta de in Gobierno (governingboard) of the party, which has headquarters Asuncion, through an agency called the Comision de Reorganizacion Partidaria. Whenthe officialsof a given seccionalare about to complete their term of office, this agency appointsa delegation (delegacion) to supervisethe election of a new comision. The delegationis normally headed by a prominent,well-knownfigurein the nationalgovernment, assistedby one or two lesserpartyfunctionaries. Theirdutyis to go to the party members,and communityin question,talk to the more influential try to get them to nominateand elect a comisionacceptableto the Junta de Gobierno. The delegation triesto get all of the partymembers to agree generally on a single slate of candidateswhich can be elected withoutopposition, becausethis promotespartyunitymore effectivelyand avoidsthe formation of irreconcilable factions. This effort often requiresrepeatedvisits in the courseof whichthey makesugby the delegation to the community, Thus gestionsand then give the people time to considerthem informally. the precise date of the electionis not set far in advancebut merely for the winterof a givenyear;the actualelectiontakesplacewhenall preparations are complete.If a singleslate of candidatescannotbe agreedupon, a systemof proportional assuresthe losing slate of at least representation some positionson the governingcomision,providedits marginof loss is slim. Since the power of the seccionalpresidentdependsheavily on his acceptance by the Juntade Gobierno,fromwhichhe deriveshis abilityto bestow patronage,the delegationcan pressurethe electorateto vote for If not done adroitly,however,this can cause bitterthe slate it favors.38 ness andmay even intensifyfactionaldifferences, leadingmanyColorados to be critical of what they regard as undue interferenceby the Junta delegation. The seccionalelectiontakes place duringthe courseof an asamblea andis a majorpoliticaland social event.The delegatescome39 partidaria, and make speechesto the assembledpartymembersin whichthey extoll
38 Reasons for favoritism are various. For example, in Capiata, in 1965, the party was divided into two factions, and the leader of the faction favored by the Junta de Gobierno impressed me as much less capable than his opponent, until it was pointed out to me by a Junta official that the latter man commuted to work in Asuncion (20 km away) and often spent weeks away from Capiat'a,hence could not keep closely in touch with local affairs. 39 The description which follows is based on an asamblea which I witnessed, as a guest of the delegation, in a community not far from Villa Hayes in August 1964. Supplementalinformation was provided by informants who had witnessed or participatedin other asambleas.



the partyand its past and presentleaders,particularly PresidentStroessner, and urge party unity, vigilanceover the opposition,etc. Then the if possible.This is followedby a feast, votingtakesplace, by acclamation as lavish as local resourceswill permit, attendedby the delegatesand, ideally,most of the partymembers who werepresentat the voting.Drinking begins before the meal, and beer or wine is served with it. Toasts are

offeredwith some regularity, and a dance is held in the afternoon. The delegatesfrom the Juntade Gobiernoare expectedto participate in all this. The chief of the delegationis usually a nationallyprominent politicianwhose name has appearedfrequentlyin the newspapers andis familiar to the people;exceptfor this occasionthey wouldprobably neverbe privileged to actuallymeet him. But as the alcoholand the general festivemood breaksdown reserve,ordinarypeasantsengagehim in conversation and presentto him theirproblems; he danceswith the local girls, and the feelingis fosteredthat the leadersof the Coloradogoverna close personalinterestin the well-being ment,howeverexalted,maintain of theirfellow partymembers,howeverpoor, in all parts of the country. The occasion also providesan opportunity for young men seeking politicaladvancement to bringthemselves to the attentionof the delegates (offeringtoastsandmakingimpromptu speechesis one way of doingthis) and to make contactswhich may later be useful. At the same time, the delegates,representing the nationalpartyleadership,come to know and evaluatethe principalpartyleadersin the community.I have had occasion to be impressed with the extentto whichpartyofficialsin Asuncion, throughthe obligationto serve on such delegations,have come to know and understand local problemsand personalitiesin many parts of the country.From what little informationI have been able to gather, the same appearsto be true of their Liberalcounterparts. It is primarilythroughthe local seccional organization that party cohesionis maintained, andthis in turnis an important factorstrengthening government controlover the country,lightening the task of the police and military forces in keepingsuch control. One of the statedfunctionsof the seccionalorganization is to attend to the welfareof fellow partymembers.Sometimesthis is done in a very directway, by payingfuneralexpenses,providinglegal aid, distributing necessaryschool suppliesto childrenof poor Coloradofamilies,and the like. If necessary,collectionsare taken up locally, but the party headquartersalso providesfunds for this purpose(all government employees arerequired to donate5 percentof theirsalaryto the party).40
40 The published expenses of the party for the period September 1963-September 1964, which total Gs. 7,481,906, include as the largest single item Gs.



In othercases suchwelfareis attendedto by meansof recommendafrom the presidentof a seccional is tions. A letter of recommendation employessentialin orderto obtaingovernment and sometimes important may carry more weight ment of any kind, and such a recommendation than one froma teacherin gainingadmissionto one of the country'sfew public (virtuallyfree) secondaryschools. The seccionalleadershipmay attemptto exert pressureon private employersto give preferencesin to the by them or to make contributions hiringto personsrecommended welfareof the seccional,but theirpowerto do this varies;they are likely is heavilyColoradoandwhere to be moresuccessful wherethe community on governand dependent is Paraguayan-owned concerned the enterprise however,is the country's ment contractsor patronage.The government, countries,jobs are largest employer, and as in most underdeveloped scarce and much in demand.A steady job makes an excellent reward for political servicesrendered. functionof the seccionaland one of the most Anotheracknowledged is political from the point of view of the nationalgovernment important vigilance.Partymembersare supposedto keep watch over all public institutions,to see that they are operatedproperly.But more important, they are urgedto watch all oppositionpoliticalactivityand reportwhatto the police. ever they observeto the seccionalleadersor, if appropriate, (a term applied They are warnedto be on guardagainst"Communists" to all people who agitate for change without governmentapproval), strangers, and the like. Especiallyin the moreremoteareasof mysterious with suspicion,and if the suspicion the country,any stranger is regarded is great enough, force may be used to drive him from the community. The seccionalleadersand theirfollowersare expectedto watch for any gatheringof people known to be affiliatedwith oppositionparties is informed(duringmuch of and to be sure the local police detachment its recent history, Paraguayhas been under a state of siege, and any meetinghas requireda police permit). This emphasison vigilancehas called a pyragie', originallya furtivecharacter givenrise to the individual out of Guaranifolklore, whose body is all covered with hair, even the soles of his feet so he can walk very silently. The term now refers to
2,000,000 for 20,000 guardapolvos-the white smocks that form the principal part of the obligatory school uniform. Other items include Gs. 440,000 for 40,000 "President Stroessner" school notebooks, Gs. 100,000 for 40,000 pencils, Gs. 66,500 for 700 first and second grade readers, and Gs. 154,000 for 15,400 boxes of colored pencils. Also in the list of expenses were Gs. 312,000 for the distribution of 1,200 blankets, Gs. 496,350 for medicines and hospital bills, and Gs. 381,000 for the distributionof toys on epiphany (Patria [Asuncion], 27 September 1964).



a personwho seeks to listen in and informthe authorities of opposition politicalactivity. to the Coloradoparty's The Liberalparty'sdirectorate corresponds Juntade Gobierno.However,since this partyis out of power, its members are only part-timepoliticalworkers.They seek to maintaincontact with Liberal leaders in all parts of the country, train future political leaders,and take care of the materialneeds of the local comitemembers as best they can. Providinglegal aid for its membersis a particularly importantfunctionof this party.Liberalsare encouragedto contribute financiallyto their party, and because of their numbersthey are able to obtain enough to keep the party organization functioning,although The partydirectorate works they areunableto requiresuchcontributions. on a nationallevel to reduce discrimination againstLiberalswith regard On a local level, the Liberalsfrequentlytake to economicopportunities. sides as a bloc in Colorado factional disputes. Lacking voting power, they cannotinfluencedirectlythe outcomeof seccionalelections,but by their numbersand what economic resourcesthey commandthey can give theirfavoritesome additional power or influencein the community. Since the party,except for a small splintergroup,was technicallyillegal priorto its reorganization in 1966 as the RadicalLiberalparty,the activities of the Liberalcomit's, includingtheirelections,had to be carriedon quietlyandunobtrusively. The Coloradoand Liberalpartiesare the only ones that have this extensivelocal organization.In small communities,membersof other One may find an occasionalFebrerista, parties are rarely encountered. usuallya Chaco War veteranwho became a followerof Franco during the war andwho, now middle-aged or older,has retainedthis loyalty.An occasionalthoughtful,dissatisfied,and religiousman may declare himself a ChristianDemocrat.But the two traditionalparties retain their hold over the mass of the people, despitethe fact that the leadershipof thesetwo partieshas usuallybeen in the handsof men whose understanding of and responsiveness to the needs of the lower classes has generally been limitedto the minimumnecessaryto retain an adequatedegree of partycohesion. This hold is maintained, however,not because of the ideologiesof the parties-indeed, they are rarelythoughtof as havingideologies-but because of their functionas mutualaid societies and channelsof social mobility.They functionthis way because they are among the most importantchannelsthroughwhich patronageis dispensed.The two traditional parties (and only these two) provide the means wherebya man



can achieve the power to become a patron and thereby acquire a clientele which may bring him still greater power. Opportunities to achieve power outside the political party structure are few, and even these generally require the power-holder to maintain a balance between power blocs which are based on the party structure.4' A side effect of this role of the political parties is that when nonintellectually-inclined, provincially-oriented Paraguayans become concerned over matters of civic improvement, or social or economic conditions, they are not likely to think of these as problems to be tackled in the political arena. They are not likely to support candidates for political office who would promise to improve conditions. To them, politics means patronage. Civil or social improvements have nothing to do with politics, and must be brought about in other ways.

The maintenance of the Paraguayan political system depends, I suggest, on the assumption that each of the two traditional parties has approximately the same number of members, each drawing its membership from all socioeconomic levels, and between them commanding the loyalty of the vast majority of the people. No figures are available on the precise numerical strength of either party, and it would be imprudent to try to gather such information. It seems to be generally understood that whichever party is in power tends to gain membership at the expense of the other because of its greater access to sources of patronage; but it has been assumed that such gains are relatively small and that the numerical strength of the two big parties is more or less equal.42 Such equality, or the assumption of such equality, seems essential for two reasons. The first is that it keeps attention focused on the mutualaid role of the political parties and the second that it diverts attention from the fact that basic social and economic problems are not being met. The Colorado party is able to retain the allegiance of its people largely by its ability to maintain a spirit of rivalry against a powerful opposing party and by giving its followers certain advantages in the competition for jobs, political favors, and protection. Advantages, that is, over the Liberals;
See Hicks, "PoliticsPower,"for an illustration. A survey conducted among Asuncion university students in 1965 revealed that, of those willing to respond to a question concerning political affiliation, 36 percent claimed Colorado affiliation,32 percent Liberal, 20 percent ChristianDemocratic, and 12 percent Febrerista (university students presumably represent largely the urban, cosmopolitan sector, hence the high proportion of nontraditional affiliations). However, 62 percent declined to give their political affiliation. See Domingo M. Rivarola, "Universidady estudiantes,"pp. 62-63.




and it is because there are so many Liberalsto oppose and to compare themselveswith that the Coloradoscan see this relative advantage.If were not kept constantlybefore them, they mightmake this comparison other comparisons,which could lead to increasingdiscontentwith the system. The Liberalsare in a similarposition.Because theirpartyis out of power, they must stick together for mutual protection against the Colorados. Becauseof its largefollowing,the Liberalpartyis able to provide a measureof securityfor its people by givingthem some legal and financialaid when needed. By being well organizedand led by sophisticated and influentialmen (whose influenceis often derived from colwith their Coloradocounterparts),it can also preleague relationships vent excessive oppressionby the dominantColorados. Again, rivalry with the Colorados,and the need for protection,leads rank and file Liberals to concentrateon the distinctionbetween Liberal and Colorado ratherthanon socialandeconomicdistinctions. The second reason for the maintenance of the two-partysystemis thatit limitsthe clienteleamongwhompatronage need be distributed. As the nature of foreign investmentin the Paraguayaneconomy changes of economicresourcesavailablefor disposalthrough and the proportion the patronagesystem diminishes,the system of caudillismois able to survivebecausethe proportionof the populationthat need be benefited is limitedto the membership of one politicalparty and, on a local level, often to only one factionwithinit. Becauseof the prevailingview of the role of politicalparties,this formsa sociallyacceptableway of depriving half or more of the populationof a shareof the scarcebenefits.The rank and file Liberalscomplainof specific instancesof this deprivation,but they acceptthe system,for they know thatwhenthe day comes thattheir partycan seizepowerthe tableswillbe turned. the Coloradoparty does not maintaina policy of enSignificantly, recruitmentof Liberals to the couragingwholesale and indiscriminate Coloradobanner.Apparently,neitherparty has ever maintainedsuch a policy when it was in power.Joininga politicalpartyis a formalmatter. As he nearsvotingage, a youth of Liberalparentsmay sometimesbe approachedto become a Colorado,or he may solicit membershipin the party,but he must have the acceptanceof the seccionalleadershipand he is not admitted witha political"tutor"; to formalparty will be provided membershipuntil his continuingloyalty seems certain. The prevailing patternis to respectthe Liberalwho stayswithhis partyeven whenit is at a disadvantage. Despite the flamboyantand militantrhetoricheard at of Liberalpoliticalleaders,and politicalrallies,the frequentharassment



the rulingColorados terrorism, eventhe occasionalperiodsof anti-Liberal fromtakingany measuresthatwouldseriously refrained have consciously Liberalpartymembership. diminish It also appearsthat local Coloradofactionalleadersdo not seek to gain more adherentsthan are necessaryfor them to control access to patronage.However, the national party leadershipdoes strive to prevent local factionsfrom forming,since in the past dissidentfactions of the party in power have sometimeshelped the rival party to overthrow the government. This is a systemin whichnationalelections,with the presidencyat Yet, due to a combinationof stake, would appearto be dysfunctional. relainternational and the natureof Paraguay's historicalcircumstances tions (which requirethat a somewhatdemocraticimage be projected), periodicelectionsmustbe held. Priorto 1968, suchelectionswereusually affairs,or otherwiseconductedin such a way as to make single-candidate designednot to be taken seriously.The one thinkthey were deliberately assumptionthat the two parties were numericallyequal was never put to the test. However, as the world-widespirit of reformand revolution began to be felt in Paraguay,it must have become evidentthat the sysand thus by keepingthe Liberalsunderground tem wouldbe endangered The are best diffusedunderground. receptiveto ideaswhich,in Paraguay, Febreristasand ChristianDemocratshad been grantedrecognitionas political parties, eligible to participatein elections, in 1964 and 1966 Lackinga ready-made respectively. clientele,they couldhardlydo otheron issuesof policyandideology. wisethancampaign In 1965 many LiberalssupportedFebreristacandidatesin the nationwidemunicipalelections.A surveyof politicalpreferencesof Asuncion universitystudentsin that year showedratherstrikinggains for the Democrats.43 By 1968 therewas little choice but to allow the Christian in the national Liberals(now called RadicalLiberals) full participation wouldhavebeenthe growthof the ideologicallyelections.The alternative Liberals,and a change basedpartiesat the expenseof the patronage-based in the wholenatureof politics. The publishedfiguresgave the Liberalsonly about one quarteras have been conditionednot Paraguayans many votes as the Colorados.44 to expecttheirelectionsto be honestand so may not acceptthese figures. They are at least plausible,however,and if people accept them as true, that the two partiesare in fact quiteunequal they must also acknowledge in numbers.The Liberals will thus have to gain adherentsfrom the



Louisville Times, 12 February 1968.



Coloradoranks,whichtheymay findthey can most easilydo by introducing real issues and advocatingmeaningfuland significantreforms. In any case, electoral competitionbetween the two major parties, which circumstances have apparently forcedthe government to accept,may well proveincompatible withthe continuation of caudillopolitics.