Andres Rodriguez
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.

Rodriguez’s rise 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 heroin.

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.

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