History of Paraguay contra its Falsifiers: Chapter XV

History of Paraguay contra its Falsifiers: Chapter XV

The Restoration of the Paraguayan Republic.

Before any reaction from the Porteñistas, Dr. Francia outmaneuvered all his enemies. He broke all diplomatic relations with Buenos Aires from the very beginning, using the commercial and trade issues as the apparent motive. In fact, his sole objective was to offset the Porteños whom were calling for a General Assembly on 31 January 1813. Don José Gaspar imposed his iron will: Paraguay will have nothing to do with the unruly revolutionaries of the southern provinces. Alarmed by these decisions, Buenos Aires sent Don Nicolás de Herrera (1744-1833) as a diplomat to recompose the situation with Paraguay. However, Dr. Francia ignored all the pleas done by the Porteño representative, claiming that only a Paraguayan Cabildo could resolve the pending issues with the prideful Buenosaireans. [1]

Some romantic authors from Paraguay tried to present Dr. Francia as a liberal revolutionary. But this goes completely against the available evidence. Adriano Irala Burgos is an interesting example of this «art of misrepresentation», completely infused by ideological considerations: he is a fan of Rousseau and he tries to interpret everything around Dr. Francia as a realization of the rousseaunian ideals… Paraguayan History falsified for the sake of liberalism… That’s why Irala Burgos, as an absolute Rousseau Fanboy, claims that «the relationship (of Dr. Francia) with Rousseau, and not just in the «Social Contract» but even in simple words, is evident». [2]

In fact, we could argue that Dr. Irala Burgos, being an alleged «Catholic intelectual» of Paraguayan liberalism, never had interest in researching more deeply into the Catholic philosophy concerning politics and popular sovereignty, preferring to base himself in the writings of an abject and corrupt pseudo-thinker such as Rousseau, a calvinist and freemason. One can clearly see that Dr. Francia was the absolute opposite of the so called «father of the French Revolution» born at Geneva in 1712. Don José Gaspar, arguably the finest mind of the «Independence Period» in South America, was far closer to Count Joseph de Maistre rather than any «enlightened» figure. We can even imagine Francia uttering similar expressions to the ones written by his fellow «dark doctor» and Savoyard philosopher:

«(Refuting Rousseau) is less a question of proving that he is wrong than proving that he does not know what he wants to prove… The best way to refute this so-called philosopher (Rousseau), is to analyse him and translate him in philosophical language; then we are surprised we have ever to give him a moment’s attention». [3]

Rodríguez Pardo largely refuted both Adriano Irala Burgos and other «Paraguayan Liberals» who wanted to present Dr. Francia as a disciple of the Enlightenment. In reality, Don José Gaspar was inspired by the «Spaniard Scholasticism» and the School of Salamanca, led by powerful minds such as Fathers Francisco Suarez and Francisco de Vitoria. The «Paraguayan Liberals» confuse or misinterpret, either for political and ideological reasons (most likely), either because of simple ignorance (less likely), the real basis and underpinnings of the political philosophy of Suarez and Vitoria among other «non-enlightened» authors that were influential in Francia’s thinking. [4]

But there were some Paraguayan Historians that were less influenced by modern ideologies. One of them, who wanted to explain the cultural and historical origins of the Paraguayan Society during the Independence, wrote that in the XVIII Century, the Paraguayans were deeply influenced by the «theologian jurists of Spain» such as Father Juan de Mariana (1536-1624) who claimed that the «source of Royal Power of the Monarch resides in the delegation given to his person by the people» and that the populace «has the power to resist tyranny and in extreme cases, when the rights of the people are being quelled, tyrannicide is acceptable when there is no other valid way». The same Paraguayan author mentions the Fathers Domingo de Soto (1494-1560) and Martín de Azpilcueta (1492-1586) as key thinkers because of their ideas of popular sovereignty: «its a natural right to recognize that the sovereign potestas, that comes from God, also belongs to the community and (the Monarch) cannot dispose of it in total». And of course, this Paraguayan author doesn’t forget Father Francisco Suarez (1548-1617), one of the «most avowed Jesuit thinkers» who taught that «the Supreme Power resides in the community» and «the community, in a political confederation, establishes a Republic in order to delegate the government to a certain individual». These ideals from the «Spaniard Scholasticism» arrived very early in Paraguay, circa 1599, thanks to the teachings of Father Marciel Lorenzana, disciple of Francisco Suárez himself. [5]

Paraguay needed no Hobbes, no Locke, no Montesquieu, no Rousseau and no Voltaire (to mention just a few degenerates). They were taught by far better teachers and thinkers such as Suarez, Mariana, Vitoria, Azpilcueta, Soto and Vitoria. And Dr. Francia, the finest disciple of these philosophers, with a single masterstroke, destroyed all the alleged «liberal-republican» intentions of Buenos Aires with their sockpuppeteering in the so called «General Assembly of 1813-1815» and the subsequent ones. No wonder why his liberal enemies dubbed him as an «evil Jesuit tyrant». [6]

However, a loyal vassal of the anglo-french liberalism and their propaganda, Benjamín Vargas Peña, describes the real nature of Dr. Francia in short words, albeit correctly:

«Some painted the figure of the tyrant Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia as a figure of an authentic revolutionary. But in fact, he was a reactionary. A counter-revolutionary against the movements for liberty and independence in the Americas». [7]

Far from affecting and staining Francia’s image, the accurate description of Vargas Peña only increases the evidence of Don José Gaspar’s patriotism and loyalty to his Hispanic tradition and his nation. Just like the rest of the liberals in Latin America, the «patriotism and loyalty» of the Paraguayan Liberals (such as Benjamín Vargas Peña or Manuel Pesoa, among others) is based on what is considered «patriotism and loyalty to the nation» by the thinkers and intelectuals of Britain (in those days) and USA (in our post-modern era). Usually, the «patriotism and loyalty» promoted by the liberal and progressive think-tanks of the anglo-atlanticists equals a total submission to the political, economical and philosophical systems they prefer in the detriment of the interest of Hispanic Countries.

Now, I’m not saying Britain and the USA shouldn’t work for their hegemonic purposes. What I’m saying is that Paraguayans shouldn’t be capitulating for the interests of Britain and USA, rather, they should promote their own ideological, cultural, political and economical interests. Or, as an Argentine politician of our times once exclaimed: «I’m not affraid of the ones that want to buy us from the outside, but from the ones that want to sell us from the inside». Liberals usually belong to that second group and sometimes, not even for money but for simple vassalage to ideological false pretenses coming from their masters. [8]

On August 1813, the Junta of Asunción, totally under control of Francia, sent instructions to all the Cabildos of the other cities and towns of Paraguay. The instructions included guidelines for the selection, through suffrage, of the new «electors» of all the different locations of the country in order to conform the new Congress of Paraguay. Smaller populations such as Pilar had 15 electors while larger populations such as San Isidro de Curuguaty and Villarrica had 45 and 55 electors, respectively. All the males with 23 years old were given the right to suffrage for their candidates. At the beginning of September 1833, the chosen electors were arriving to Asunción for the Congress that is considered to be the first «popular assembly» in the history of Latin America. Francia, the most respected political figure of the country, personally introduced himself to all the electors arriving to the capital and he managed to imbue his view to all of them. According to a British witness, Francia convinced the Paraguayans that «Buenos Aires only wanted to subjugate them for its own ambition, revolutionary principles and treasonous objectives». On 30 September 1813, more than 1.100 electors were gathered in the Temple of Our Lady of the Mercy and they decided to vote in favour of Dr. Francia’s patriotic political programme, as well as to repulse all treaties and alliances with Buenos Aires, forbbiding any involvement of Paraguay in the Assemblies summoned by the Porteños and Porteñistas. They even rejected any posibility of recieving Don Nicolás de Herrera into the Congress. [9]

The same Nicolás de Herrera informs of what happened in the Congress of Asunción to the Junta of Buenos Aires:

«I believe that Francia’s position have no other objective but to win time… This man Francia, imbued by the principles of the Roman Republic, ridiculously tries to organize his Government following those principles and he gave me several proofs of his hatred towards Buenos Aires. He persuaded the people of Paraguay that they are, on their own, an Empire without comparison; that Buenos Aires flatters Paraguay because it needs it; that Buenos Aires wants to enslave the whole continent under the pretext of Union; that the other peoples of the Viceroyalty were forced (to send their representatives to the Assemblies of Buenos Aires); that our advantages are a mere supposition; even in his answers he openly boasts his rivalry because I was never recognized (in Paraguay) as an Envoy of the Supreme Executive Power of the Provinces of the River Plate but rather, simply, as a Deputy of the Government of Buenos Aires and not even to Your Excellencies they recognize any authority whatsoever; in the envelop of this letter Paraguay entitles itself as the «First Republic of the South», considering itself as the one and only free nation of this region…». [10]

The Porteños were totally outmaneuvered and overwhelmed by Francia. And Paraguay is in fact the «First Republic of the Southern Hemisphere», not because of the decision of the Congress of Asunción in 1833, rather because that title was obtained in the Royal Charter (Real Cédula) of 12 September 1537 by King Charles I of Spain himself. In that document, which is another evidence of Asunción’s primogeniture and higher nobility over Buenos Aires, the Emperor Charles V gave to the citizens of the newly established City of Asunción the potestas and right to choose their own government by the suffrage of the residents of the province. This way, Paraguay became a Republic in the Spanish Kingdom and a Province of the Empire. [11]

Julius Caesar (left) and Pompey the Great (right), in digital reconstructions based on their statues. The Paraguayan Republic, established on 12 October 1813, had two Consuls: Don José Gaspar de Francia (Julius Caesar) and Fulgencio Yegros (Pompey the Great). [Image: Reddit].
Julius Caesar (left) and Pompey the Great (right), in digital reconstructions based on their statues. The Paraguayan Republic, established on 12 October 1813, had two Consuls: Don José Gaspar de Francia (Julius Caesar) and Don Fulgencio Yegros (Pompey the Great). [Image: Reddit].
And on 12 October 1813, that hispanic and roman tradition was returned by Dr. Francia in full force. The Congress of Asunción decided that day that Don José Gaspar de Francia and Don Fulgencio Yegros would share the power of the state as Co-Consuls, just like in the Roman Republic of Julius Ceasar and Pompey the Great. Both Consuls recieved the military rank of «Brigade Generals of the Republic» and they were given, to their total and absolute disposal, their own «Preatorian Guard», that is, an elite infantry batallion for their personal protection. [12]

The Paraguayan Republic was restored, in a remarkable coincidence with the Hispanic Day, on 12 October 1813. All of this thanks to the feats and brilliance of one man. And that same man, soon enough, would become the «Imperator» of this Old and Renewed Republic.



[1] Rodríguez Pardo (2011): «La Independencia del Paraguay no fue proclamada en Mayo de 1811…», op. cit. page 82.

[2] Irala Burgos, Adriano (1988): «La Ideología Política del Dr. Francia», page 14. Asunción, Paraguay: Carlos Schauman Editor.

[3] De Maistre, Joseph Marie the Count (1996): «Against Rousseau: On the State of Nature and On the Sovereignty of the People, translated and edited by Richard A. Lebrun», introduction, page XIII. Montréal, Quebec: McGill’s Queen’s University Press.

[4] Rodríguez Pardo (2011) op. cit. pages 33-52.

[5] Chaves, Osvaldo (1976): «La Formación Social del Pueblo Paraguayo», pages 145-146. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Artes Gráficas Negri S.R.L.

[6] Báez, Cecilio (1888): Article published in «La Ilustración Paraguaya», Year 1, N° 16, page. Asunción, Paraguay: H. Romero Owner and Editor.

[7] Vargas Peña, Benjamín (1993): «El Perfil de un Tirano», op. cit. page 43.

[8] The quotation is attributed to Arturo Umberto Illia (1900-1983), President of the Argentine Republic in 1963-1966.

[9] White, Richard Alan (1989): «La Primera Revolución Popular en América: Paraguay 1810-1840», pages 64-65. Asunción, Paraguay: Carlos Schauman Editor.

[10] Vázquez, José Antonio (1975): «El Dr. Francia Visto y Oído por sus Contemporáneos», op. cit. page. 99.

[11] Cháves, Julio César (2019): «Compendio de Historia Paraguaya», op. cit. pages 52-53.

[12] Cháves (2019) op. cit. pages 132-133.

Emilio Urdapilleta