Geographic and Governmental Profile of Paraguay

Background
Paraguay achieved its independence from Spain in 1811. 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. The country stagnated economically for the next half century. Following the Chaco War of 1932-35 with Bolivia, Paraguay gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER ended in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, Paraguay has held relatively free and regular presidential elections since then.
Location
Central South America, northeast of Argentina, southwest of Brazil
Geographic coordinates
23 00 S, 58 00 W
Continent / Subcontinent
South America
Area
total:
406,752 sq km
rank:
60
land:
397,302 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
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
lowest point:
junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point:
Cerro Pero 842 m
Natural resources
hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone
Land use
arable land:
7.47%
permanent crops:
0.24%
other:
92.29% (2005)
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Irrigated land
670 sq km (2003)
Total renewable water resources
336 cu km (2000)
Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural)
total:
0.49 cu km/yr (20%/8%/71%)
per capita:
80 cu m/yr (2000)
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
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
Capital
name:
Asuncion
geographic coordinates:
25 16 S, 57 40 W
time difference:
UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time:
+1hr, begins first Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in April
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 (observed 15 May)
Constitution
promulgated 20 June 1992
Legal system
civil law system with influences from Argentine, Spanish, Roman, and French civil law models; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice
International law organization participation
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
Suffrage
18 years of age; universal and compulsory until the age of 75
Executive branch
chief of state:
President Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez (since 15 August 2008); Vice President Luis Federico FRANCO Gomez (since 15 August 2008); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government:
President Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez (since 15 August 2008); Vice President Luis Federico FRANCO Gomez (since 15 August 2008)
cabinet:
Council of Ministers appointed 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 on 20 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013)
election results:
Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez elected president; percent of vote - Fernando Armindo LUGO Mendez 40.8%, Blanca OVELAR 30.6%, Lino OVIEDO 21.9%, Pedro FADUL 2.4%, other 4.3%
Legislative branch
bicameral National Congress or Congreso Nacional consists of the Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (45 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Chamber of Deputies or Camara de Diputados (80 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections:
Chamber of Senators - last held on 20 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013); Chamber of Deputies - last held on 20 April 2008 (next to be held in April 2013)
election results:
Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 15, PLRA 14, UNACE 9, PPQ 4, other 3; Chamber of Deputies - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - ANR 30, PLRA 27, UNACE 15, PPQ 3, APC 2, other 3; note - as of 1 January 2010, the composition of the Chamber of Deputies is ANR 30, PLRA 29, UNACE 15, PPQ 4, other 2
Judicial branch
Supreme Court of Justice or Corte Suprema de Justicia (nine judges proposed by the Council of Magistrates or Consejo de la Magistratura, and approved by the Senate and president)
Political parties and leaders
Alianza Patriotica por el Cambio (Patriotic Alliance for Change) or APC [Fernando LUGO]; Asociacion Nacional Republicana - Colorado Party or ANR [Lilian SAMANIEGO]; Movimiento Popolar Tekojoja or Tekojoja [Sixto PEREIRA]; Movimiento Union Nacional de Ciudadanos Eticos or UNACE [Lino Cesar OVIEDO Silva]; Patria Querida (Beloved Fatherland Party) or PPQ [Pedro Nicolas Maraa FADUL Niella]; Partido del Movimiento al Socialismo or P-MAS [Camilo Ernesto SOARES Machado]; Partido Democratica Progresista or PDP [Rafael Augusto FILIZZOLA Serra]; Partido Encuentro Nacional or PEN [Fernando CAMACHO Paredes]; Partido Liberal Radical Autentico or PLRA [Amanda NUNEZ]; Partido Pais Solidario or PPS [Carlos Alberto FILIZZOLA Pallares]
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
CAN (associate), CELAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur (suspended), MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUSCO, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNASUR, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNIDO, Union Latina, UNMIL, UNMISS, UNOCI, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US
chief of mission:
Ambassador Rigoberto GAUTO Vielman
chancery:
2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone:
[1] (202) 483-6960 through 6962
FAX:
[1] (202) 234-4508
consulate(s) general:
Los Angeles, Miami, New York
Diplomatic representation from the US
Ambassador James H. THESSIN
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) 228-603
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 a circular seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words PAZ Y JUSTICIA (Peace and Justice)); red symbolizes bravery and patriotism, white represents integrity and peace, and blue denotes liberty and generosity
the three color bands resemble those on the flag of the Netherlands; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides - the others are Moldova and Saudi Arabia
National symbol(s)
lion
National anthem
name:
"Paraguayos, Republica o muerte!" (Paraguayans, The Republic or Death!)
lyrics/music:
Francisco Esteban ACUNA de Figueroa/disputed
adopted 1934, in use since 1846; the anthem was officially adopted following its re-arrangement in 1934
Data source 1: All Above textual data, maps and flags were extracted from The World Factbook which was prepared by the Central Intelligence Agency and made available on the following link: The World Factbook. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsered or affiliated, in any way, by the US Central Intelligence Agency
Data source 2: Plots and Charts are constructed using the world bank public data catalog which can be viewed by visiting the following link: World Bank Data Catalog. Lebanese Economy Forum is not sponsored or affiliated, in any way, by the worldbank

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