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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2006, 16:48 GMT 17:48 UK
Ex-Paraguayan ruler dies in exile
Alfredo Stroessner (2001 file picture)
Alfredo Stroessner lived in exile in Brazil for 17 years
Paraguay's former military ruler Alfredo Stroessner has died aged 93 in a hospital in the Brazilian capital.

Gen Stroessner had contracted pneumonia following an operation for a hernia on 29 July.

Gen Stroessner, who led a military coup in 1954, had lived in exile in Brazil since being ousted in 1989.

Paraguay had said earlier it would not pay tribute to him as he was a renegade from justice and was wanted for questioning over alleged rights abuses.

Operation Condor

Gen Stroessner was renowned as a staunch anti-communist, and was an ally of apartheid South Africa and Chile's Gen Augusto Pinochet.

Hundreds of files discovered after his departure revealed Paraguay's extensive role in the repression of left-wing activists across southern Latin America in what was known as Operation Condor.

Paraguayan judges had, on a number of occasions, requested the extradition of the former leader to question him over human rights abuses.

BBC Latin America analyst James Painter says the loyalty of his generals was the ultimate guarantor of Gen Stroessner's rule.

But, he says, the main pillar of civilian support was the multi-class Colorado Party, which the general turned into his personal propaganda machine and source of mobilisation for electoral support.

Many Paraguayans admired Gen Stroessner for the stability he brought. But many others feel their country is still struggling to escape his legacy of authoritarian rule, cronyism and corruption.

He was overthrown by a former politically ally, Gen Andres Rodriguez, in a coup in February 1989. Gen Stroessner fled to Brazil a few days later.

Background to Alfredo Stroessner's life

Obituary: Alfredo Stroessner
16 Aug 06 |  Americas
Condor legacy haunts South America
08 Jun 05 |  Americas
Timeline: Paraguay
16 Aug 06 |  Country profiles
Country profile: Paraguay
16 Aug 06 |  Country profiles

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