The Carter Center has worked to strengthen peace and democracy in Paraguay since 1993, when it observed the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in the country's history.
In 1993, The Carter Center observed the first peaceful democratic transfer of power in Paraguay's history. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, representing the Center's Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas, traveled to Paraguay to monitor the May 9, presidential election. Juan Carlos Wasmosy of the ruling Colorado Party was the clear victor in a fairly orderly election.
Former Paraguay President Juan Carlos Wasmosy was among leaders from across the hemisphere who came to The Carter Center May 4-5, 1999, to evaluate specific anti-corruption efforts and seek commitments from other governments to implement similar strategies in their own countries. The gathering was part of a multiyear initiative of The Carter Center and its Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas to work with governments and civil society in the Americas to develop concrete strategies to fight corruption and ensure transparency of government transactions with business. Transparency can improve investor confidence, spur economic growth, provide better public services to the population, and increase public confidence in democratic institutions.
In March 1999, President Carter issued a public statement denouncing the assassination of Paraguay Vice President Luis Maria Argaña. "This violent act was a blow to human rights and the rule of law in Paraguay, and the democratic community of nation-states should roundly condemn it," he said. "Violence is never an acceptable method for resolving political conflict. I hope Paraguayans will use this tragedy to find ways to strengthen and prevent further threats to their democracy."
Although Latin America spends relatively less on defense than most other regions, expenditures on expensive weapons systems divert scarce foreign exchange from more effective investments, including education. They also compel neighbors to spend more on defense and, by doing so, generate international tensions. Concerned about an arms race in Latin America, the Carter Center's Council of Presidents and Prime Ministers of the Americas urged governments in the region to pause before embarking on major arms purchases. Between April 1997 and March 1998, 28 current and 14 former heads of government signed a written pledge to accept a moratorium of two years on purchasing sophisticated weapons. Among the signatories was Paraguay President Juan Carlos Wasmosy.
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Size: 406,752 square kilometers
Population: 6,783,272 (2015 est.)
Population below poverty line: 35 percent
Life expectancy: 77 years
Ethnic groups: Mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian), other
Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, other Christian, other or unspecified, none
Languages: Spanish (official), Guarani (official)
Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2016