Paraguay’s upcoming elections could mean end of caudillo era

By Michael P Garrett

Visiting professor of philosophy Mario Ramos-Reyes said the era of the caudillos is coming to in end in Paraguay as the presidential elections approach on April 21.

Ramos-Reyes spoke earlier today about Paraguay’s upcoming elections at Bailey Hall as part of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies’ Merienda Lecture series. Ramos-Reyes said the two candidates in the 2013 election are not like the normal caudillo leaders Paraguay has had in the past.

“The new generation is completely different than what we have had before,” Ramos-Reyes said, referring to the front-runners in Paraguay’s presidential election.

The Colorado Party’s candidate is Horacio Cartes and the Liberal Party’s candidate is Efraín Alegre.

Ramos-Reyes gave a detailed history of these parties, including the development of the caudillos as political leaders, or redeemers, as Ramos-Reyes called them.

A caudillo usually refers to a military or political leader at the head of an authoritarian power, Ramos-Reyes said in his lecture. For the past two centuries, Paraguay has been dominated by these caudillos.

Based on the history of Paraguayan leaders of the past, Ramos-Reyes is certain these candidates contrast the leaders of the past.

“These candidates are different,” Ramos-Reyes said.  “Cartes is an outsider of the Colorado party. His background is against the history of the Colorado party.”

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