By Joshua Abreu
Andres Rodriguez was
born in Borja, Paraguay on June 19, 1923 and died on April 21, 1997.
Rodriguez was born in a humble family. His parents, Marcos Rodriguez
and Elisa Pedotti, provided him with a high school education. After
high school Rodriguez joined the Military School “Mariscal
Francisco Solano Lopez”. In 1947 he experienced new experiences
in the army. The first dealt with sports, where he participated
in the “Modern Military Pentathlon”, which competed
in Rio de Janeiro. The other was a political- military experience
where he participated in the revolution with the loyal troops of
the government of Higinio Morinigo.
to power was one that surprised many. Rodriguez studied in the army
and rose swiftly in rank. He came to the reached the rank of General
in 1970. Rodriguez was a close friend of Alfredo Stroessner, and
was closely linked to many of his infamous dealings. Through this
he accumulated great deals of money. Rodriguez was later banned
from the United States because he was thought to have been trafficking
On February 2, 1989, Rodriguez launched a coup d'état on
Alfredo Stroessner’s government. He was able to do this because
of his rank as General. This coup surprised many people because
he was a close friend of Stroessner’s. Rodriguez’s coup
was backed up by the Roman Catholic Church and the United States.
The reason the United States backed Rodriguez was because they did
not trust Stroessner as an ally to fight against communism anymore,
and they wanted to get democracy into Paraguay.
Rodriguez became President
on February 3, 1989. When he came into power he tried and imprisoned
many of the leaders that stood by Stroessner, and many others were
banned from Paraguay. During his presidency he made several changes
that would change the course of Paraguay. Rodriguez banished the
Death Penalty and withdrew martial law. The biggest change that
marked Rodriguez’s presidency was that he instituted multi-
party elections, making Paraguay truly democratic. Rodriguez ran
for president as part of the Colorado party in a truly democratic
campaign, and won.
As president Rodriguez
should also be remembered for two great accomplishments. The first
being establishing the first law that ratified the American Convention
for the Human Rights of San Jose, Costa Rica, that Paraguay had
written in 1969, but was never enforced. His second great accomplishment
was the election act in 1993. This established that the country
can freely elect their leaders without being subject to the previous
hegemony of internal power. During his presidency started a new
age of hope, liberty, strengthening of the Republic Institutions,
civil and political rights, and a new social order.
Suffering from cancer
and no longer able to be President, Rodriguez handed the torch to
Juan Carlos Wasmosy. Since he was very sick he traveled to the United
States to get better treatment. He died from Cancer in New York
on April 21, 1997 at the age of 73.