Latin America

‘It Still Hurts’: How One Man’s Dream Led to a War Which Wiped Out 90 Percent of His Nation’s Men

This weekend marks the beginning of the start of the War of the Triple Alliance, which wiped out 90 percent of Paraguay’s men. But how did it start and how does the map of South America look different from how it did before the war began?

Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Francisco Solano López Carrillo — all were dictators who wanted to enlarge their nation’s territory but ended up leading their homelands to the brink of destruction.

Solano Lopez led Paraguay into a war with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay which ended 150 years ago this month with nine out of ten Paraguayan men dead.

Jenny Dominguez, a journalist and executive producer with Paraguayan TV channel NPY, told Sputnik: “The war still hurts. Many of us believe that it condemned our future. We could never recover from that war.”

She said: «If that war had not happened, the reality of this country would be different. It devastated the republic, decimated the population, and subjected us to the allies, mainly Brazil.»

In the aftermath of the conflict, huge tracts of state-owned land were sold off to foreigners to pay off the war debt.

Today 14 percent of Paraguayan land is in the hands of Brazilian farmers and a tiny elite owns 85 percent of the best agricultural land.

Solano Lopez, a former brigadier general, became President of Paraguay in 1862 — succeeding his father — half a century after the country came into existence after declaring independence from Spain.

A source

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