Fernando Lugo
Fernando Lugo Méndez, President of the Republic of Paraguay in 2008−2012. His presidency was overthrown by a US-backed controversial impeachment, described as a breakdown of the democratic order by Latin American and European governments. Known as "the Bishop of the poor", then a Catholic priest, Fernando Lugo served as Bishop from 1994 to 2005, the year in which he went into politics in his country. His triumph as a presidential candidate put an end to a long cycle of 61 years of hegemony of the Colorado Party of Paraguay, including the 35 years of Alfredo Stroessner's fascist dictatorship. In 2008 Lugo received a dispensation from Pope Benedict XVI to exercise the presidency of Paraguay. President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations 2011−2012, he is a Member of the Puebla Group and since June 2013 has served in the Paraguayan Senate.
The influence of Nazism and fascism in Paraguay
There are different ways of addressing the topic of Nazism and fascism in Paraguay. One of them comprises the study of these two ideologies in the global context of that era, that is, from their inception until the period of World War II, and the next period right after the end of that bloody war.

The field marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed the unconditional capitulation on the 9 of May, 1945 (Moscow time) in the presence of Soviet marshal Georgy Zhukov and other commanders of the Allied forces.
But Nazism did not cease to exist with the surrender of Nazi Germany. Fascism also did not disappear with the death of Mussolini in 1945
The history of the repressive police state and the party who had the monopoly of power in the country did not end with him. Neither did the personalist power.

The Nazi-fascist experience have not been completely banished from Paraguay. Its different political manifestations in a greater or lesser degree are still present today.
World in turmoil after the First World War
The Nazi and the Fascist presence and its rise in Paraguay has to be addressed in the world context of a deep crisis of capitalism and instability in the international order which was inherited from the First World War.

This situation of crisis and instability was characterized by bitter disputes between France, the United Kingdom, Germany and later the United States over the hegemony and the direction of international affairs. France and the United Kingdom were protecting their colonial dominions from the ever-growing German appetites.

It is meaningful to mention that on the international stage that was changing at that time, one of the most transcendental historical transformations took place in Russia. The Russian Socialist Revolution in 1917 meant a qualitative change in the balance of power in the world, as well as the breakdown of the consensus between the leading powers regarding the deeply racist and imperialist nature of the world order.

Starting with this breakdown of the Western "civilized" model, the Russophobia campaign began to be emphasized in the West which furthered the anti-Russian sentiment and gave place to the attempts to hold Russia on the peripheries of Europe as it had been already done during large periods of history. The anti-Russian themes took on almost paranoiac features in the West, while the Anti-Russian sentiment remains even today.

Nevertheless, this "civilized" Europe submitted entire peoples under its domination during centuries, plundering them beyond the concept of barbarity.
The history of the Second World War was written in the West with this ingredient of Russophobia and by the cloak of an anti-communist struggle. In that version of history, the role of Soviet Russia, the country that defeated fascism and Nazism and saved the humankind from the catastrophe, was pushed aside
The issue of Nazism and fascism in Paraguay
Latin America did not remain in isolation from that world which was changing in the direction a new international order and that would come into being after 1945. Although these events were taking place while the region was still considered the United States' "backyard", and regardless of the tight US control over the whole region, from the very beginning of the XX century, the disputes for the world domination also echoed in Latin America and caused some important developments.

At the beginning of the 1930s the region plunged in a fierce dispute between the dominant powers of that time. The rise of the National Socialist German Workers' Party in Germany was a primary force that aroused sympathies among several governments in the Latin American region.

The fratricidal Chaco War between Paraguay and Bolivia (1932−1935) came to an end and the hegemonic oligarchic latifundist liberal state which emerged as a result of the 1964−1970 genocide (The Triple Alliance War) erupted in a deep crisis. In response to this state crisis the nationalism appeared as an alternative hegemonic counter-power.

In 1936 Colonel Rafael Franco came to power. His coalition government consisted of notorious fascist sympathizers such as Gómez Freire Estévez. Furthermore, the coalition government had the strong support of the Cavalry Officers who had the explicit sympathy for fascism and a kind of paramilitary force which persecuted communists. This group exerted major influence during the regime of Félix Paiva (1937−1939), after the Rafael Franco regime had been ousted.
Although the Nazi presence did not have the same scale as it had in Mexico or Argentina, the first foreign Nazi network was established in Paraguay. That network was a propaganda organization which acted for the benefit of the Third Reich
This has been especially true in some Latin American countries after two or three decades of social and political progress. Partially inspired by the histrionic figure of Donald Trump who among other things governs the country where socioeconomic conditions are very divided, several political leaders of the region not only ha The national authorities did not ignore the Nazi infiltration, but rather showed an open sympathy towards Germany and the Axis, as was in the case of the government of Higinio Morínigo (1940−1948). Only under the pressure exerted by the United States and when it became clear that the defeat of Germany was irreversible, in February of 1945, after much hesitation, Paraguay declared war on Germany and the Axis powers, which was nothing more than a symbolic act. By doing so Paraguay became a part of the Allied forces. Of course, that act was just symbolic because the country did not contribute in any way to the defeat of the Axis.

With regard to the Aryan influence as a concept of a pure race, already at the end of the XIX century and before the foundation of the Nazi Party in Germany, several German nationalists and anti-Semites emigrated to Paraguay.

Bernard Foster and his wife Elizabeth Nietzsche, the sister of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, came to Paraguay in 1887. This couple became the founders of the town of Nueva Germania (New Germania). Although these two figures failed to achieve their socio-political goals, they laid political and ideological bases to the germinal presence of Nazism in the country.
ve striven to undermine the success in the social sphere made in the recent years, or even decades, but also are trying to destroy the pillars of the civilization on which the democracy stands.

There is no need to search high and low to find similar attacks against culture and rationality in Hitler’s and Mussolini’s speeches.
Regarding the Nazi and fascist presence in Paraguay, two important periods should be mentioned, the first before and during the Second World War and the other after the War
First, the Nazi Party took roots in Paraguay in 1928 upon creating its foothold in the town of Colonia Independencia which received the official approval from Germany in 1929. It was the first foreign political organization that was recognized as a Nazi organization. The first settlers of Colonia Independencia were military who had fought in the First World War.

Italian fascism established its presence in Paraguay also in 1928 with the creation of the first national branch of Fascio, although it did not have the same power and influence as the local Nazi structure.

In 1932 the Nazi party consolidated its presence in Colonia Independencia and started to expand through the department of Guiará. Another town with a notable Nazi presence was San Bernardino which also was the first German colony in the country.

Nazi predominance in San Bernardino was a notorious reality, as well as in the town of Altos, located just a few kilometers away. When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 German immigrants in Paraguay openly expressed their loyalty and welcomed the success of the Nazi Party by hoisting flags with a black swastika.
Secondly, with the German defeat and the following unconditional surrender, several notorious members of the Nazi Party and some Nazis of other nationalities found refuge in Paraguay
These pages of the country’s history perhaps are the least studied and analyzed.

Indeed, among the most well-known Nazis that fled to Paraguay was the SS murderer Josef Mengele who performed deadly experiments on prisoners in Auschwitz. Another Nazi who found shelter in Paraguay was Hans Rudel, a famous pilot who was very close to the Führer himself. Ther was as well Eduard Roschmann, called the Butcher of Riga for his atrocities in the getto. Roschmann died in Paraguayan capital, Asunción, in 1977. These war criminals received official and explicit protection during Alfredo Stroessner’s dictatorship in 1954−1989.

Although it is not possible to assert that Stroessner’s dictatorship was openly Nazi, it can be undoubtedly confirmed that during his administration, by means of Operation Condor, full-scale crimes were committed, as in other regional dictatorships in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia. Dictators there showed their true face and their fascist nature upon carrying out mass murder of political, social, ideological and cultural dissidents.

* * *

Nowadays, when Nazism and fascism as we know them from the history, have ceased to exist in the American region, winds with a strong neo-fascist character are blowing again. In fact, this new ideology proves to be almost the same as its predecessor.
The emergence of the rightist regimes that are conservative, oligarchic and depend on the United States erode the roots of agenuine participatory democracy converting it in a mere formal and bogus democracy
Finally, we cannot categorically affirm that Nazism and fascism have been wiped out of existence forever, especially in Paraguay. False messiahs will continue to appear disguised as democratic figures. Hence, we do not have any other option than to keep vigilant and alert.
On the use of information

All materials on this website are available under license from Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International and may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.

Demonstration of Nazi and fascist paraphernalia or symbols on this resource is related only to the description of the historical context of the events of the 1930−1940s, is not its propaganda and does not justify the crimes of fascist Germany.