intelligence behind the return of Stroessner’s mafia
THERE is such confidence between
Federico Franco, the coup President now installed in
Paraguay, and the United States embassy in the
country, that Franco was there discussing the
overthrow of President Fernando Lugo as early as
2009. This was revealed in a Wikileaks document in
which an intelligence official refers to a
conversation with Franco, then the Vice President.
belongs to the
right-wing Liberal Radical
Authentic Party, the soft
opposition permitted by the
dictator Alfredo Stroessner.
The text, dated May 6, 2009, was
composed by a member of the diplomatic mission (read
CIA) and was brought to light later by Australian
Julian Assange’s group. It notes the disagreement
observed between the President and his Vice
President and makes the latter’s intentions clear.
The secret report indicated that
differences between Lugo and Franco were escalating,
but that Franco had told the ambassador, on April
28, that he was not involved in any plan to
overthrow Lugo. Franco further stated that his
position was one of patience, supporting democratic
institutions in Paraguay.
Federico Franco belongs to the right-wing
Liberal Radical Authentic Party, the soft opposition
permitted by the dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who
subjected Paraguay to a bloody regime for 35 years.
The coming to power of this liberal right-wing
doctor, alongside the former bishop Fernando Lugo
was the result of political machinations which are
best understood by the traditional ruling class in
this South American country.
The friendly relationship which
Franco enjoyed with the U.S. embassy in Asunción
demonstrates the close ties between imperialist
diplomats and the Vice President, who did not hide
his contempt for the "priest" whose administration
he was part of.
Evidently to the yankees’ delight,
he discussed and regularly shared his numerous
arguments with Lugo, which emerged on almost a daily
When Franco assumed the Vice
Presidency, the U.S. State Department had already
assigned to the embassy a figure with the necessary
experience to confront an undesirable situation. The
ambassador was James Cason, who had gained notoriety
as the head of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana,
the CIA station that passes for a diplomatic mission
in the Cuban capital.
In Asunción, Cason thought of
himself as entertaining, singing folk songs in
Guaraní, but did not limit himself to such pastimes.
The associate of the Cuban- American mafia took
pains to provoke a record number of confrontational
incidents with authorities.
The current ambassador in Asunción,
Liliana Ayalde, arrived to take Franco under her
wing and assure his integration into plans being
made by Stroessner’s followers who control the
nation’s parliamentary system, and have been
conspiring against President Lugo.
AN ILLUSTRATIVE INCIDENT
In March of 2010, Paraguay’s
Minister of Defense, retired General Luis Bareiro
Spaini was called to appear before the Chamber of
Deputies as a result of his "affronts to the U.S.
With 41 votes in favor and four
against, deputies approved a reprimand of the high
ranking official for a letter he had sent to Ayalde,
accusing her of intervening in Paraguay’s internal
This happened during a luncheon
organized at the embassy with Vice President
Federico Franco and a group of visiting U.S. army
generals in attendance, when Ayalde proposed a
debate at the table about the political situation in
Paraguay and the possibility of impeaching President
The Congressional opposition did not
reprimand Franco, but rather General Bareiro Spaini,
for "involving himself inappropriately in affairs
handled by the Ministry of Foreign Relations," while
Franco’s treasonous position was not even mentioned.
The plot was already in the works.
LUGO SURROUNDED BY SHARKS
The 2010 document revealed that
speculation was already underway concerning plans to
remove Lugo and the degree to which the Vice
President might participate.
The text refers to political actors,
informants who kept an eye on Franco and reported
how an agreement had been reached with the coup
Lino Oviedo to accelerate plans for
an impeachment, so that the Vice President could
take power, with Oveido eventually elected as Vice
The report from the U.S. embassy in
Asunción, revealed by Wikileaks, makes reference to
the interest many politicians had in cutting short
Lugo’s administration. The document indicated that
rumors persisted that Lino Oviedo, former President
Nicanor Duarte Frutos, and/or Vice President
Federico Franco, were continuing to seek ways to
limit Lugo’s term
The message, sent by the embassy to
the State Department in Washington, referred to "political
sharks" surrounding the President and indicated that
U.S. personnel in Paraguay believed that he was
under a lot of pressure to resign or face
impeachment, a possibility which the composers of
the letter considered increasingly likely.
Informed daily of all events at the
highest levels of government, taking advantage of
the complicity of every "shark," those who longed
for the days of Stroessner’s iron fist only needed
the U.S. embassy’s espionage services to guide their