General information: In the bloody war of the tripartite alliance (1865-70) Paraguay lost two-thirds of the adult male population and a significant part of its territory. For half of the next century, the country experienced economic stagnation. In the Chaco War 1932-35. large and economically important areas were recaptured from Bolivia. Alfredo STROESSNER’s thirty-five-year military dictatorship fell in 1989, and relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held ever since.
Location: Central South America, northeast of Argentina. See franciscogardening.com to know more about Paraguay Geography.
Geographical coordinates: 23° 00′ S. latitude, 58° 00′ W
Reference map: South America.
Area: total: 406,750 km2; land surface area: 397,300 square kilometers; water surface area: 9,450 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than the state of California.
Land borders: total: 3,920 km; with neighboring states: with Argentina 1,880 km, with Bolivia 750 km, with Brazil 1,290 km.
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked).
Maritime claims: none (landlocked).
Climate: subtropical to temperate; with significant precipitation in the eastern territories; becomes semi-arid in the far west.
Terrain: meadows and wooded hills east of the Paraguay River; Gran Chaco region west of the Paraguay River, mostly low, swampy plain along the coast, otherwise dry forest and thorny scrub.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: confluence of the Paraguay and Paraná rivers 46 m; highest point: Mount Pero 842 m.
Natural resources: hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone.
Land use: arable land: 6%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 55%; forests and plantations: 32%; others: 7% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 670 km2 (1993 est.).
Natural hazards: localized floods in the southeast (from early September to June); poorly drained plains can become swampy (from early October to June).
Current environmental issues: deforestation (approximately 2 million hectares of forest were cut down during 1958-85); water pollution; insufficient measures for waste disposal pose a health risk to many city dwellers.
International environmental agreements: member: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Nuclear Test Ban.
Note to the section “Geography”: does not have access to the sea; located between Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil.
Population: 5,734,139 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 38.9% (male 1,133,306; female 1,097,360); 15 to 64 years old: 56.39% (male 1,622,743; female 1,610,659); over 65: 4.71% (male 124,321; female 145,750) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 2.6% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 30.88 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 4.75 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.09 people / 1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; up to 15 years: 1.03 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 1.01 male/female; over 65: 0.85 male/female; for the general population: 1.01 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 29.78 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 73.92 years; men: 71.44 years; women: 76.52 years (2001 est.).
General birth rate: 4.11 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.11% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 3,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 220 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Paraguayan; adjective: Paraguayan.
Ethnic groups: mestizos (descendants of mixed marriages of Spaniards and Indians) 95%.
Believers: Catholics 90%, Mennonites, other Protestants.
Languages): Spanish (official), Guarani (official).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 92.1%; men: 93.5%; women: 90.6% (1995 est.).
conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay;
conventional short form: Paraguay; local long form: Republica del Paraguay; local short form: Paraguay
State structure: constitutional republic.
Administrative divisions: 17 departments and one metropolitan city: Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, Asunción (city), Boquerón, Guaira, Itapua, Caaguaçu, Caasapa, Canendia, Concepción, Cordillera, Misiones, Nyembuco, Paraguari, Presidente Aes, San Pedro, Saint-ral.
Independence: from May 14, 1811 (until 1811 – a colony of Spain).
National holiday: Independence Day, May 14 (1811).
Constitution: promulgated June 20, 1992
Legal system: based on Argentine law codes, Roman law and French law codes; judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court is possible; does not accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from 18 years old; universal and compulsory until the age of 75.
chief of state: President Luis GONZALEZ Macchi (since 28 March 1999); Vice President Julio Cesar FRANCO (since August 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President Luis GONZALEZ MACKEY (since March 28, 1999); Vice President Julio César FRANCO (since August 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
government: the council of ministers is appointed by the president; elections: president and vice president are elected on the same list by popular vote for five years; elections last held 10 May 1998 (next to be held in May 2003); election results: Raul CUBAS Grau elected president; percentage of votes received – 55.3%; resigned March 28, 1999; note: President Luis GONZÁLEZ MACKEY, former President of the House of Senators, constitutionally succeeded President Raúl CUBAS Grau, who resigned by impeachment shortly after Vice President Luis Maria ARGANA was assassinated; ARGAN’s successor was determined by the August 2000 elections.
Legislature: the bicameral Congress consists of the Chamber of Senators (45 seats; members are elected by popular vote for five years) and the Chamber of Deputies (80 seats; members are elected by popular vote for five years); elections: House of Senators – last held 10 May 1998 (next to be held May 2003); Chamber of Deputies – last held 10 May 1998 (next to be held May 2003); election results: Chamber of Senators, distribution of votes between parties: NA; seat allocation by party: Colorado 25, PLRA 13, PEN 7; Chamber of Deputies, distribution of votes between parties: no data; seat distribution by party: Colorado 45, PLRA26, PEN 9.
Judiciary: Supreme Court, judges are appointed on the proposal of the Judicial Council (Consejo de la Magistratura).
Political parties and leaders: Genuine Radical Liberal Party (PLRA) (Miguel Abdon SAGUIER); Christian Democratic Party (PDC) (Adalina GUITERREZ DE GALEANO); February Revolution Party (PRF) (Carlos Maria LJU-BETIC); National Resistance (PEN) (Euclides ACEVEDO); National Republican Association – Party “Colorado” (acting President Bader RACHID LICHI [Bader RACHID LICHI]).
Political pressure groups and their leaders: National Work Center (CNT); Paraguayan Confederation of Workers (CPT); Catholic Church; Single Work Center (CUT).
Participation in international organizations: CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNMEE, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
Diplomatic Mission to the United States: Head of Mission: Ambassador Leila RACHID; office: 2400 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008; phone:  (202) 483-6960 to 483-6962; fax: [\] (202) 234-4508; consulates general: Detroit (honorary consul), Los Angeles, Miami, New Orleans, New York, San Juan (honorary consul).
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador David N. GREENLEE; embassy: 1776 Avenida Mariscal Lopez, Casilla Postal 402, Asuncion; mailing address: Unit 4711, APO AA 34036-0001; phone:  (21) 213-715; Fax;  (21) 213-728.
Flag Description: three equal horizontal bands of red (top), white and blue, with the emblem in the center of the white band; the flag is unusual in that the emblem is different on each of its sides; the obverse shows the national coat of arms (yellow five-pointed star inside a green wreath), above which is written RE-PUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, the coat of arms and the inscription are enclosed in a double circle; the reverse side shows the seal of the Treasury (yellow lion under a red Phrygian cap with the words “Paz y Justicia” [Peace and Justice]), above which is the inscription REPUBLICA DEL PA-RAGUAY (all this also in a double circle).