Skip to main content Accessibility help

“Unleashing the Fury”: The Cultural Discourse of Rural Violence and Land Rights in Paraguay

    • Published online: 01 January 1999

In February 1989, General Alfredo Stroessner, Paraguay's longtime dictator, was deposed in a coup led by one of his top generals. During the first days after the coup, hundreds of rural Paraguayans swept onto unused lands claimed by the state, the Stroessner family and its cronies, and foreign investors, to set up ramshackle huts and clear plots to grow manioc and corn. They were soon followed by thousands more. By mid-1990, observers and representatives of the occupants estimated that roughly 19,000 families had claimed lands totaling over 360,000 hectares.These figures are derived from information provided by several organizations involved with the occupants and from data collected by the Centro de Documentación y Estudios and published in its monthly Informativo Campesino. For more information, see note 4. Most of the occupations occurred in the eastern and northern border departments, a frontier zone that had been rapidly developed for commercial agriculture during the preceding decades. But small farmers and rural workers throughout the nation mobilized to demand direct participation in their new government, more favorable agricultural policies, and restitution for past abuses. For Paraguay, then a nation of only 4.1 million persons, 2.06 million of them rural, this mobilization represented a considerable proportion of the population. Although land occupations were not new to Paraguay, his wave of rural activism was exceptional. Coinciding with Paraguay's first hesitant steps toward democracy, the occupations expressed the hopes of the rural poor for a more democratic rural society and for their own voice in the new political system.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed