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Introduction - Paraguay:




In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.

Location - Paraguay:


Central South America, northeast of Argentina

Geographic coordinates

23 00 S, 58 00 W

Map references

South America


total: 406,750 sq km
land: 397,300 sq km
water: 9,450 sq km

Area comparative

slightly smaller than California

Land boundaries

total: 3,995 km
border countries: Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,365 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims

none (landlocked)


subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west


grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere

Elevation extremes

lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point: Cerro Pero (Cerro Tres Kandu) 842 m

Natural resources

hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone

Land use

arable land: 7.47%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 92.29% (2005)

Irrigated land

670 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards

local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)

Environment current issues

deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands

Environment international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography note

landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country

People - Paraguay:


6,669,086 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 37.2% (male 1,262,408/female 1,220,809)
15-64 years: 57.7% (male 1,933,559/female 1,915,033)
65 years and over: 5.1% (male 155,660/female 181,617) (2007 est.)

Median age

total: 21.6 years
male: 21.3 years
female: 21.8 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

2.416% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

28.77 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

4.54 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.034 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.857 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 26.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 30.73 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 21.96 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 75.34 years
male: 72.78 years
female: 78.02 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.84 children born/woman (2007 est.)

Hiv aids adult prevalence rate

0.5% (2003 est.)

Hiv aids people living with hiv aids

15,000 (1999 est.)

Hiv aids deaths

600 (2003 est.)


noun: Paraguayan(s)
adjective: Paraguayan

Ethnic groups

mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%, other 5%


Roman Catholic 89.6%, Protestant 6.2%, other Christian 1.1%, other or unspecified 1.9%, none 1.1% (2002 census)


Spanish (official), Guarani (official)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 94.9%
female: 93% (2003 est.)

Government - Paraguay:

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay
conventional short form: Paraguay
local long form: Republica del Paraguay
local short form: Paraguay

Government type

constitutional republic


name: Asuncion
geographic coordinates: 25 16 S, 57 40 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

Administrative divisions

17 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital city*; Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, Asuncion*, Boqueron, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Canindeyu, Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, Neembucu, Paraguari, Presidente Hayes, San Pedro


14 May 1811 (from Spain)

National holiday

Independence Day, 14 May 1811 (observed 15 May)


promulgated 20 June 1992

Legal system

based on Argentine codes, Roman law, and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


18 years of age; universal and compulsory up to age 75

Executive branch

chief of state: President Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS (since 15 August 2003); Vice President Luis CASTIGLIONI Joria (since 15 August 2003); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS (since 15 August 2003); Vice President Luis CASTIGLIONI Joria (since 15 August 2003)
cabinet: Council of Ministers nominated by the president
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for a single five-year term; election last held 27 April 2003 (next to be held in April 2008)
election results: Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS elected president; percent of vote - Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS 37.1%, Julio Cesar Ramon FRANCO Gomez 23.9%, Pedro Nicolas Maraa FADUL Niella 21.3%, Guillermo SANCHEZ Guffanti 13.5%, other 4.2%

Legislative branch

bicameral Congress or Congreso consists of the Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (80 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 27 April 2003 (next to be held in April 2008); Chamber of Deputies - last held 27 April 2003 (next to be held in April 2008)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 16, PLRA 12, UNACE 7, PQ 7, PPS 2, PEN 1; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 37, PLRA 21, UNACE 10, PQ 10, PPS 2

Judicial branch

Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (judges appointed on the proposal of the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura)

Political parties and leaders

Asociacion Nacional Republicana - Colorado Party or ANR [Jose A. ALDERETE]; Movimiento Union Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos or UNACE [Enrique GONZALEZ Quintana]; Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland Party) or PQ [Pedro Nicolas Maraa FADUL Niella]; Partido Encuentro Nacional or PEN [Luis TORALES Kennedy]; Partido Liberal Radical Autentico or PLRA [Blas LLANO]; Partido Pais Solidario or PPS [Carlos Alberto FILIZZOLA Pallares]
note: Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS on leave as party leader of the Colorado Party or ANR while serving as President of Paraguay; Lino Cesar OVIEDO Silva, leader of UNACE, is currently serving a ten-year prison term

Political pressure groups and leaders

Ahorristas Estafados or AE; National Coordinating Board of Campesino Organizations or MCNOC [Luis AGUAYO]; National Federation of Campesinos or FNC [Odilon ESPINOLA]; National Workers Central or CNT [Secretary General Juan TORRALES]; Paraguayan Workers Confederation or CPT; Roman Catholic Church; Unitary Workers Central or CUT [Jorge Guzman ALVARENGA Malgarejo]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the us

chief of mission: Ambassador James SPALDING Hellmers
chancery: 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 483-6960 through 6962
FAX: [1] (202) 234-4508
consulate(s) general: Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the us

Ambassador James C. CASON
embassy: 1776 Avenida Mariscal Lopez, Casilla Postal 402, Asuncion
mailing address: Unit 4711, APO AA 34036-0001
telephone: [595] (21) 213-715
FAX: [595] (21) 213-728

Flag description

three equal, horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue with an emblem centered in the white band; unusual flag in that the emblem is different on each side; the obverse (hoist side at the left) bears the national coat of arms (a yellow five-pointed star within a green wreath capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles); the reverse (hoist side at the right) bears the seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words Paz y Justicia (Peace and Justice) capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles)

Economy - Paraguay:

Economy overview

Landlocked Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large informal sector. This sector features both reexport of imported consumer goods to neighboring countries, as well as the activities of thousands of microenterprises and urban street vendors. Because of the importance of the informal sector, accurate economic measures are difficult to obtain. A large percentage of the population derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. On a per capita basis, real income has stagnated at 1980 levels. Most observers attribute Paraguays poor economic performance to political uncertainty, corruption, lack of progress on structural reform, substantial internal and external debt, and deficient infrastructure. Aided by a firmer exchange rate and perhaps a greater confidence in the economic policy of the DUARTE FRUTOS administration, the economy rebounded between 2003 and 2006, posting modest growth each year.

Gdp purchasing power parity

$31.26 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp official exchange rate

$7.754 billion (2006 est.)

Gdp real growth rate

4% (2006 est.)

Gdp per capita ppp

$4,800 (2006 est.)

Gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 22.4%
industry: 18.4%
services: 59.2% (2006 est.)

Labor force

2.742 million (2006 est.)

Labor force by occupation

agriculture: 45%
industry: NA%
services: NA%

Unemployment rate

9.4% (2005 est.)

Population below poverty line

32% (2005 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 43.8% (1998)

Distribution of family income gini index

56.8 (1999)

Inflation rate consumer prices

12.5% (2006 est.)

Investment gross fixed

19.3% of GDP (2006 est.)


revenues: $1.773 billion
expenditures: $1.733 billion; including capital expenditures of $700 million (2006 est.)

Public debt

31.3% of GDP (2006 est.)

Agriculture products

cotton, sugarcane, soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco, cassava (tapioca), fruits, vegetables; beef, pork, eggs, milk; timber


sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power

Industrial production growth rate

0% (2000 est.)

Electricity production

51.77 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity consumption

3.133 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity exports

45.01 billion kWh (2004)

Electricity imports

0 kWh (2004)

Oil production

0 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil consumption

27,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)

Oil exports

NA bbl/day

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl

Natural gas production

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Natural gas consumption

0 cu m (2004 est.)

Current account balance

-$300 million (2006 est.)


$1.69 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)

Exports commodities

soybeans, feed, cotton, meat, edible oils, electricity, wood, leather

Exports partners

Uruguay 22%, Brazil 17.2%, Russia 11.9%, Argentina 8.8%, Chile 6.9% (2006)


$4.5 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Imports commodities

road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum products, electrical machinery

Imports partners

China 27%, Brazil 20%, Argentina 13.6%, Japan 8.3%, US 6.4% (2006)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$1.543 billion (2006 est.)

Debt external

$3.722 billion (2006 est.)

Economic aid recipient


Currency code

guarani (PYG)

Exchange rates

guarani per US dollar - 5,672.8 (2006), 6,178 (2005), 5,974.6 (2004), 6,424.3 (2003), 5,716.3 (2002)

Communications - Paraguay:

Fiscal year

calendar year

Telephones main lines in use

331,100 (2006)

Telephones mobile cellular

3.233 million (2006)

Telephone system

general assessment: meager telephone service; principal switching center is in Asuncion
domestic: fair microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 595; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations

AM 46, FM 27, shortwave 6 (3 inactive) (1998)

Television broadcast stations

5 (2003)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

13,178 (2006)

Internet users

260,000 (2006)

Transportation - Paraguay:


881 (2006)

Airports with paved runways

total: 12
over 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2006)

Airports with unpaved runways

total: 869
1,524 to 2,437 m: 26
914 to 1,523 m: 325
under 914 m: 518 (2006)


total: 36 km
standard gauge: 36 km 1.435-m gauge (2006)


total: 29,500 km
paved: 14,986 km
unpaved: 14,514 km (1999)


3,100 km (2007)

Merchant marine

total: 21 ships (1000 GRT or over) 34,749 GRT/39,280 DWT
by type: cargo 15, livestock carrier 1, passenger 1, passenger/cargo 1, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 3 (Argentina 3)
registered in other countries: 1 (Ecuador 1) (2006)

Ports and terminals

Asuncion, Villeta, San Antonio, Encarnacion

Military - Paraguay:

Military branches

Army, National Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Naval Aviation, Marine Corps, General Naval Prefecture), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Paraguay, FAP) (2006)

Military service age and obligation

18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - 12 months for Army, 24 months for Navy (2006)

Manpower available for military service

males age 18-49: 1,345,022
females age 18-49: 1,342,725 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service

males age 18-49: 1,109,166
females age 18-49: 1,135,046 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 63,058
females age 18-49: 62,217 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures percent of gdp

1% (2006 est.)

Disputes international

unruly region at convergence of Argentina-Brazil-Paraguay borders is locus of money laundering, smuggling, arms and illegal narcotics trafficking, and fundraising for extremist organizations

This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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