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Paraguay Flag

Country Profile

Capital City: Asunción (pop. 612 000)

Other Cities: Ciudad del Este, San Lorenzo, Capiatá, Fernando de la Mora, Encarnación.

Local Time
: UTC -4h

Location: Central South America, northeast of Argentina
Area: 406,752 sq. km. (157,047 sq. mi.)
Terrain: East of the Paraguay River--grassy plains, wooded hills, tropical forests; west of the Paraguay River (Chaco region)--low, flat, marshy plain.
Border countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil

Climate: Temperate east of the Paraguay River, semiarid to the west.

Type: Constitutional Republic.
Independence: May 1811 (from Spain).
Constitution: June 1992.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Paraguayan(s).
Population: 5 735 000
Ethnic groups: Mixed Spanish and Amerindian (mestizo) 95%.
Religions: Roman Catholic 90%; Mennonite and other Protestant denominations.
Languages: Spanish, Guaraní.
Literacy: 91.6%.


Currency: Guaraní (PYG)

Natural resources: Hydroelectric sites, forests.

Agriculture products: Cotton, sugarcane, soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco, cassava (tapioca), fruits, vegetables; beef, pork, eggs, milk; timber.

Industries: Sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power.

Exports partners:
Brazil 34.2%, Uruguay 19.6%, Switzerland 7.8%, Argentina 5.3% (2003)

Imports partners: Brazil 32.5%, Argentina 21.6%, China 12.7% (2003)

Internet Links

Official Sites of Paraguay

República del Paraguay Gobierno

Presidencia de la República

Paraguay National Congress
Honorable Cámara de Diputados

Honorable Cámara de Senadores

Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores

Diplomatic Missions
Permanent Mission of Paraguay to the United Nations

Embassy of Paraguay in Ottawa

Diplomatic Missions of Paraguay Abroad

Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Paraguay

Map of Paraguay

Map of South America



Background:  In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70),
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.

Geography Paraguay

Location:  Central South America, northeast of Argentina

Geographic coordinates:  23 00 S, 58 00 W

Map references:  South America

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

Area - comparative:  slightly smaller than California

Land boundaries:  total: 3,920 km border countries: Argentina 1,880 km,
Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,290 km

Coastline:  0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:  none (landlocked)

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

Terrain:  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:   junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46
m highest point: Natural resources:  hydropower, timber, iron ore,
manganese, limestone

Land use:  arable land: 6% permanent crops: 0% other: 94% (1998 est.)

Irrigated land:  670 sq km (1998 est.)

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 present 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: Nuclear Test Ban

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

People Paraguay

Population:  5,884,491 (July 2002 est.)

Age structure:  0-14 years: 38.7% (male 1,156,366; female 1,119,558)
15-64 years: 56.6% (male 1,671,721; female 1,658,683) 65 years and over:
4.7% (male 128,137; female 150,026) (2002 est.)

Population growth rate:  2.57% (2002 est.)

Birth rate:  30.5 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Death rate:  4.69 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Net migration rate:  -0.09 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)

Sex ratio:  at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03
male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female 65 years and over:
0.85 male(s)/female total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2002 est.)

Infant mortality rate:  28.75 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:   76.77 years (2002 est.)  male: Total fertility
rate:  4.07 children born/woman (2002 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:  0.11% (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:  3,000 (1999 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:  220 (1999 est.)

Nationality:  noun: Paraguayan(s) adjective: Paraguayan

Ethnic groups:  mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%

Religions:  Roman Catholic 90%, Mennonite, and other Protestant

Languages:  Spanish (official), Guarani (official)

Literacy:  definition: age 15 and over can read and write total
population: 92.1% male: 93.5% female: 90.6% (1995 est.)

Government Paraguay

Country name:   Republic of Paraguay conventional short form:  Paraguay

Government type:  constitutional republic

Capital:  Asuncion

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

Independence:  14 May 1811 (from Spain)

National holiday:  Independence Day, 14 May (1811)

Constitution:  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

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

Executive branch:  chief of state: President Luis Angel GONZALEZ MACCHI
(since 28 March 1999); Vice President Julio Cesar FRANCO (since NA
August 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of
government head of government: President Luis Angel GONZALEZ MACCHI (since
28 March 1999); Vice President Julio Cesar FRANCO (since NA August 2000);
note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet:  vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for
five-year terms; election last held 10 May 1998 (next to be held NA May
2003) note: President Luis Angel GONZALEZ MACCHI, formerly president of
the Chamber of Senators, constitutionally succeeded President Raul CUBAS
Grau, who resigned after being impeached soon after the assassination of
Vice President Luis Maria ARGANA; the successor to ARGANA was decided
in an election held in August 2000 election results: Raul CUBAS Grau
elected president; percent of vote - 55.3%; resigned 28 March 1999

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) election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of
vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Colorado Party 25, PLRA 13, PEN 7;
Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party -
Colorado Party 45, PLRA 26, PEN 9 elections: Chamber of Senators - last
held 10 May 1998 (next to be held NA May 2003); Chamber of Deputies -
last held 10 May 1998 (next to be held NA May 2003)

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

Political parties and leaders:  Authentic Radical Liberal Party or PLRA
[Miguel Abdon SAGUIER]; Christian Democratic Party or PDC [Luis Miguel
ANDRADA Nogues]; Febrerista Revolutionary Party or PRF [Oscar ACUNA
TORRES]; National Encounter Party or PEN [Mario PAZ CASTAING]; National
Republican Association - Colorado Party [Nicanor DUARTE FRUTOS]

Political pressure groups and leaders:  Ahorristas Estafados or AE;
National Workers Central or CNT; Paraguayan Workers Confederation or CPT;
Roman Catholic Church; Unitary Workers Central or CUT

International organization participation:  CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB,
Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur,

Diplomatic representation in the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
Leila Teresa RACHID COWLES chancery: 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW,
Washington, DC 20008 consulate(s) general:  234-4508 telephone: [1]
(202) 483-6960 through 6962

Diplomatic representation from the US:  chief of mission: Ambassador
David N. GREENLEE 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:  Paraguay has a market economy marked by a large
informal sector. The informal 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 their
living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis. The
formal economy grew by an average of about 3% annually in 1995-97, but
GDP declined slightly in 1998, 1999, and 2000. On a per capita basis, real
income has stagnated at 1980 levels. Most observers attribute Paraguay's
poor economic performance to political uncertainty, corruption, lack of
progress on structural reform, substantial internal and external debt,
and deficient infrastructure.

GDP:  purchasing power parity - $26.2 billion (2001 est.)

GDP - real growth rate:  0% (2001 est.)

GDP - per capita:  purchasing power parity - $4,600 (2001 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:  agriculture: 29% industry: 26% services:
45% (2000 est.)

Population below poverty line:  36% (2001 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share:  lowest 10%: 0.5%
highest 10%: 43.8% (1998)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:  57.7 (1998)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):  7.2% (2001 est.)

Labor force:  2 million (2000 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:  agriculture 45%

Unemployment rate:  17.8% (2001 est.)

Budget:  revenues: $1.3 billion expenditures: $2 billion, including
capital expenditures of $700 million (1999 est.)

Industries:  sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products

Industrial production growth rate:  0% (2000 est.)

Electricity - production:  53.056 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - production by source:  fossil fuel: 0.04% hydro: 99.85%
other: 0.11% (2000) nuclear: 0%

Electricity - consumption:  1.95 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - exports:  47.392 billion kWh (2000)

Electricity - imports:  0 kWh (2000)

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

Exports:  $2.2 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Exports - commodities:  electricity, soybeans, feed, cotton, meat,
edible oils

Exports - partners:  Brazil 39%, Uruguay 14%, Argentina 11% (2000)

Imports:  $2.7 billion (f.o.b., 2001 est.)

Imports - commodities:  road vehicles, consumer goods, tobacco, petroleum
products, electrical machinery

Imports - partners:  Argentina 25.4%, Brazil 24.5%, Uruguay 3.8% (2000)

Debt - external:  $2.9 billion (2001 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:  $NA

Currency:  guarani (PYG)

Currency code:  PYG

Exchange rates:  guarani per US dollar - 4,783.0 (January 2002), 4,107.7
(2001), 3,486.4 (2000), 3,119.1 (1999), 2,726.5 (1998), 2,177.9 (1997);
note - since early 1998, the exchange rate has operated as a managed
float; prior to that, the exchange rate was determined freely in the

Fiscal year:  calendar year

Communications Paraguay

Telephones - main lines in use:  290,475 (2001)

Telephones - mobile cellular:  510,000 (2001)

Telephone system:  general assessment: meager telephone service; principal
switching center
 fair microwave radio relay network international:
Radio broadcast stations:  AM 46, FM 27, shortwave 6 (three inactive)

Radios:  925,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations:  4 (2001)

Televisions:  990,000 (2001)

Internet country code:  .py

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):  4 (2000)

Internet users:  20,000 (2000)

Transportation Paraguay

Railways:  total: 971 km standard gauge: 441 km 1.435-m gauge note:
there are 470 km of various gauges that are privately owned narrow gauge:
60 km 1.000-m gauge

Highways:  total: 25,901 km paved: 3,067 km unpaved: 22,834 km (2001)

Waterways:  3,100 km

Ports and harbors:  Asuncion, Villeta, San Antonio, Encarnacion

Merchant marine:  total: 21 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 34,623
GRT/36,821 DWT ships by type: cargo 14, chemical tanker 1, petroleum
tanker 3, roll on/roll off 3 note: includes some foreign-owned ships
registered here as a flag of convenience: Argentina 2, Japan 1 (2002 est.)

Airports:  899 (2001)

Airports - with paved runways:  total: 11 over 3,047 m: 3 1,524 to 2,437
m: 4 914 to 1,523 m: 4 (2001)

Airports - with unpaved runways:  total: 888 1,524 to 2,437 m: 28 914
to 1,523 m: 332 under 914 m: 528 (2001)

Military Paraguay

Military branches:  Army, Navy (includes Naval Air and Marines), Air Force

Military manpower - military age:  17 years of age (2002 est.)

Military manpower - availability:  males age 15-49: 1,427,160 (2002 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:  males age 15-49: 1,028,935
(2002 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:  males: 58,359
(2002 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:  $125 million (FY98)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:  1.4% (FY98)

Transnational Issues Paraguay

Disputes - international:  none

Illicit drugs:  major illicit producer of cannabis, most or all of which
is consumed in South America; transshipment country for Andean cocaine
headed for Brazil, other Southern Cone markets, Europe, and US

This page was last updated on 1 January 2002
Paraguay News

La Nacion

Noticias on line

Ultima Hora

Arts & Culture

Guarani Legacy

Guarani Ñanduti Rogue

Guarani Renda


Museo del Barro

Musica Paraguaya

Business & Economy
Banco Central del Paraguay

Bolsa de Valores y Productos de Asunción S.A.

Cámara y Bolsa de Comercio

Ferrocarriles del Paraguay

Destination Paraguay - Travel and Tour Guides
Secretaría de Turismo del Paraguay

The Absolutely Unofficial Home Page of Paraguay


Paraguay ... País de Maravillas


Universidad Católica "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción"

Universidad Columbia del Paraguay

Universidad Nacional de Asunción 

The Triple Alliance War (1864-1870)

The Gran Chaco War (1928-1935)

WWW-VL History: Paraguay






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