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Preface Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Located in the heart of South America, Paraguay is a landlocked, agricultural country about the size of California. The Parana-Paraguay River system is Paraguay’s commercial access to the outside world. The eastern section of Paraguay, where most of the population lives, consists of rolling, fertile, farming areas and grasslands. The western section, called the Chaco, is a low-lying plateau covered with grassy meadows, bogs, spiny bushes, palms, and small trees. Lack of roads and navigable rivers makes much of this region inaccessible. Paraguay’s climate is variable and unpredictable. It is subtropical, with summer and winter seasons opposite those in the U.S.

Older than Buenos Aires, Asuncion, the capital, has not yet lost its aura of provincialism and isolation. With profuse, colorful year-round blossoms in residential gardens and along tree-lined avenues, Asuncion retains a quiet charm. Entertainment is diverse, with ready access to the nearby countries of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Paraguayans are generally well-disposed toward Americans, and informal acquaintances can easily be made with coworkers, neighbors, and at school events. Social life, however, centers on the family and contact with outsiders is somewhat limited. The people do appreciate it when someone takes the trouble to learn their native language, Guarani.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Located in the heart of South America, Paraguay is a landlocked, agricultural country about the size of California. It shares its borders with Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia.

The Parana-Paraguay River system is Paraguay’s commercial access to the outside world. Rivers and their tributaries largely define Paraguay's boundaries, and the Paraguay River divides the country into two dissimilar sections, east and west.

The eastern section consists of rolling, fertile farming areas and grasslands, together with large, wooded areas and jungle patches near the Brazilian border. Most of the country's population live in the east and engage in small-scale agriculture. Asuncion and other commercially important towns-Encarnacion, Ciudad del Este, Pedro Juan Caballero, Concepcion, Coronel Oviedo, and Villarrica are in this area, and most are accessible by paved roads. The western section, nearly two-thirds of Paraguay's total area, is called the Chaco. It is a low-lying plateau covered with grassy meadows, bogs, spiny bushes, palms, and small trees. Lacking roads and navigable rivers, much of the region is inaccessible. Only 3% of the population live in this area.

The riverfront elevation of Asuncion is 177 feet above sea level. Residential areas are situated on low hills that rise another 200 feet. Elevations throughout Paraguay are moderate, the highest range of hills, located in the eastern region, rises to about 2,000 feet.

Paraguay's climate is seasonal and subject to abrupt changes. It is subtropical, with summer and winter seasons opposite those in the U.S. Winds are generally moderate, but high winds accompanied by thunder and electrical storms are common, especially in summer. The long, hot summer lasts from October through March, with January average maximum temperature 91ºF and mean temperature 81øF. Severe hot spells with very high humidity are common. Temperatures often exceed 100ºF during the day from December to February (the official record high temperature is 109ºF), with little relief at night.

Winter extends from June through August. Cold snaps of 4 or 5 days with temperatures in the low 40s and high 30s are interspersed with several days in the upper 70s and low 80s. Frosts occur rarely. The official record low in Asuncion is 32ºF, although the damp air and improper ventilation make it seem much colder. With frequent and abrupt changes, from winter to summer-like weather and back again (temperature changes of 20ºF-50ºF are common), a high incidence of respiratory and bronchial illness occurs in winter.

Relative humidity ranges between 67% and 78% (monthly averages) year round and is particularly high in summer. This causes problems in keeping certain foods crisp, and clothes and shoes may mildew.

Asuncion's average 59-inch annual rainfall is well distributed seasonally. Slightly greater amounts fall in hotter months. Torrential rains cause annual floods in riverside communities. The Chaco, which receives little rainfall, becomes semiarid in its westernmost reaches. During rainy periods, however, water covers large areas due to the impermeable clay subsoil.

Mosquitoes and a tiny gnat-like insect called “Mbarigui”are the most troublesome insects. Cockroaches appear at times in even the cleanest kitchens; but fast, good exterminators are available. Flies, ants, spiders, crickets, silverfish, and moths also prevail. Store woolen clothing in naphthalene during summer. Less common are rats, mice, bats, scorpions, and tarantulas. Depending on how developed a neighborhood is, animals in residential areas can include numerous stray dogs, cows, grazing mules and horses, and a few snakes. Children should avoid any unfamiliar animal.

Population Last Updated: 8/16/2004 10:31 AM

Much of Paraguay is sparsely populated. Most of its 5.8 million people are concentrated in the smaller eastern half of the country. About 700,000 people live in Asuncion, the political, economic, and cultural center of the country. Asuncion's population triples during the day with the influx of workers from surrounding cities. Nearly 40% of the country's population resides in the greater Asuncion metropolitan area. Almost complete assimilation of the early Spanish settlers by the native Guarani Indians has developed a distinctive racially homogeneous Paraguayan strain, which makes up most of the population. The important minority groups include some 100,000 unassimilated Indians, representing 17 different ethnic groups. As a result of the expansion of the Brazilian economy up to and across its border with Paraguay, about 300,000 Brazilians live in the border area where many engage in mechanized farming. This phenomenon continues on and has begun to cause some border tensions. Most of these immigrants are from southern Brazil, which is predominantly European. About 20,000 Argentines live along the Argentine border. Other minority groups include 40,000 Germans, 10,000 Koreans, 8,000 Japanese, 2,000 Chinese, 1,000 Poles, 300 French, and 300 English. Some 20,000 Russian, Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. Mennonites live in agricultural communities scattered throughout the country. Paraguay has traditionally welcomed immigrants. The official U.S. community (including dependents and Peace Corps volunteers) numbers 310. Of the 2,785 nonofficial Americans registered at the Embassy, many are missionaries and business representatives and their dependents, along with some students and retired persons. The Paraguayan population is predominantly Roman Catholic. The 1992 constitution recognizes religious freedom and states that no confession will have official character. The constitution also states that relations between the state and the Catholic Church are based on independence, cooperation, and autonomy. The Unification Church is present in Paraguay and has landholdings in the northern part of the country that has been the subject of political controversy. In an attempt to restrict the growth of religious cults, legislation has prohibited the conferring of legal status on any new religious groups. Spanish is the language of government, business, and education and its use is considered a sign of education. Paraguayans are proud of their native heritage and of the Guarani language, also recognized as an official language. Guarani is used almost exclusively in rural areas and is widely spoken in urban areas. Anyone learning even a few words of Guarani will find it greatly appreciated by Paraguayans. Paraguayans are not as class conscious as some Latin Americans. All share a pride in their ethnic heritage and a fierce patriotism born of devastating, protracted wars with neighboring countries. Life, particularly in rural areas, can be hard, but social differences that divide groups are neither deeply felt nor well defined. This is due, in part, to the availability of land for those willing to homestead, to the almost total elimination of the landed Spanish aristocracy under the dictatorship of Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia in the early 1800s, and to the leveling effect of the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-70), in which up to 70% of the male population was killed.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 8/16/2004 10:32 AM

Paraguay has had a turbulent political history. The area first colonized in the early 16th century, achieved independence from Spain in 1811. Left with a legacy of authoritarian rule by its early leaders and nearly destroyed by the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-70), it has been plagued by a major conflict with Bolivia (Chaco War, 1932-35), periods of near anarchy, and civil wars interspersed with several prolonged periods of relative tranquility. The last major conflict was the 6-month civil war of 1947. On February 3, 1989, a coup d’état overthrew 34 years of authoritarian rule. In May 1989, under the new President of the Republic, Paraguay began the long process of transition from authoritarianism to democracy. A new constitution took effect in June 1992, providing for a stronger Parliament, an independent judiciary, municipal autonomy, and limited decentralization of administrative authority. Paraguay's two major, traditional political organizations, the Colorado and Liberal Parties, have each ruled the country for prolonged periods. Few ideological differences separate them. The Colorado Party has been the dominant political force during the authoritarian years and the democratic transition. While it holds a majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies, an alliance of opposition parties controls the Senate. The April 2003 elections produced a nascent multi-party system, as two newly organized parties, Patria Querida (PQ) and the National Union of Ethical Citizens (UNACE), ran competitive presidential candidates and won seats in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate. Two smaller parties, País Solidario (PS) and the National Encounter Party (PEN), also hold congressional seats. In 2003, Nicanor Duarte Frutos, a former journalist and education minister, was elected President with 37% of the vote. The vice president is Luis Castiglioni. Duarte’s main priority in office is to reverse a trend toward increased corruption manifested during the 1990s, and to halt a severe economic slide that dates from the middle of that decade. Although the military was highly politicized during the first years of the democratic transition, it remains an influential institution in Paraguay and has been supportive of the attempt to transform Paraguay into a modern democracy. The army (10,000 troops), navy, and air force (1,000 each) lack modern equipment and training in many areas, but remain receptive to civilian control. In many isolated areas, the armed forces are the sole representative of government.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

The Centro Cultural Paraguayo-Americano (BNC) sponsors numerous cultural activities and has a 12,000-volume library with both Spanish and English titles, including one of the country's most complete collections of Paraguayan works. As well as teaching an average of 6,000 students English, the center offers concerts, theater, gallery shows, and lectures and seminars on various topics. The Center opened a second branch in 1998.

Of the fine arts, painting and graphics are the most developed in Paraguay. The Contemporary Arts Museum, the Ceramics Museum, the Museo del Barro, Manzana de la Rivera, and the U.S. Cultural Center gallery, as well as other binational institutions, exhibit Paraguayan and foreign artwork throughout the year. Asuncion has a part-time symphony that performs during winter in various auditoriums. Paraguayan folk musicians perform at various sites throughout the year. Paraguay’s most popular theater groups present Spanish and Guarani comedies at the city’s several theaters. Ballet troupes perform occasionally at the Municipal Theater or other locales. Cultural missions of France, the F.R.G., Argentina, Brazil, Japan, and the U.K. present music, theater, and films at their institutions.

Paraguay’s two institutions of higher education are the National University of Asuncion and the Catholic University of Asuncion. Both have adjunct faculties in the larger cities of the interior. Little scientific activity exists beyond instruction at the National University.

Scientific museums include the Ethnographic Museum and the Museum of Natural Science.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 8/16/2004 10:34 AM

Paraguay is predominantly an agricultural country with vast hydroelectric potential but no known significant mineral or petroleum resources. The Paraguayan economy is extremely vulnerable to the vagaries of weather. It exports cotton, soybeans, cattle, and electricity. It also has a fairly lucrative business of reexporting products made elsewhere. Paraguay imports foodstuffs, machinery, transportation equipment, fuels and lubricants, and textiles. Its principal trade partners are Brazil, Argentina, Chile, U.S., and Western European countries. The U.S. maintains a healthy trade surplus with Paraguay. From a base of $375 million in 1991, U.S. exports to Paraguay rose to $913 million at the end of 1997. This represents a 24% annual increase. In 1998, Paraguay's total registered exports amounted to $1,002 million and total registered imports were $2,377 million. Since the 1980s, the economy has experienced a series of peaks and valleys. The decade of the 80’s began with the final 2 years of rapid construction of the Itaipu Dam (with the largest hydroelectric-generating capacity in the world) fueling annual growth of 10%. From this peak, the economy alternated periods of recession with modest growth. The 1988-89 period saw solid economic growth averaging 5% a year. During 1990 and 1991, the pace of expansion sustained by the Paraguayan economy in the preceding 2 years began to slow. From 1992-98 the economy has grown at an anemic 2.5% per year. The year 1999 was the second consecutive year of negative economic growth. The February 1989 coup d'etat marked the end of 34 years of repressive regime and the beginning of a transition process to democracy in Paraguay. Since then, successive administrations have implemented modest economic reform packages and have flirted with privatization of state-run telephone, electrical, and water companies. Some reforms include the unification of the exchange rate, the elimination of preferential foreign exchange rates and foreign exchange controls, expenditure reductions, and implementation of a new tax code. In the financial sector, interest rates were freed, and new savings instruments were authorized. Price controls on some basic products were also eliminated, and tax incentives to encourage investment and attract foreign investors were provided. The Government is now studying privatization of state-run enterprises and modernization of the state. Paraguay continues to have one of the lowest foreign debts in Latin America. Since ending the 34-year Stroessner dictatorship in 1989, the Government of Paraguay has made significant progress in reinserting the country into the world community. On March 26, 1991, Paraguay joined Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay in signing the Treaty of Asunciøn, to create Mercosur, a common market and customs union that went into effect in January 1995. Mercosur signed free trade agreements with Chile and Bolivia in 1996, and similar arrangements are under negotiation with Mexico, Peru, and the European Union. Paraguay became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in January 1995.


Automobiles Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Driving is on the right. Although distances traveled within Asuncion are not great and travel into the countryside is not extensive or frequent, most find a car necessary here. Unleaded gasoline is available countrywide. Fuel prices vary considerably due to fluctuating exchange rates. Unleaded (97 octane) costs about $2.73 a gallon; regular gasoline (95 octane, unleaded with alcohol) $2.53 a gallon; regular gasoline (85 octane, unleaded with alcohol) $2.15 a gallon; and diesel fuel $0.92 a gallon (April 2000). Currently, unleaded gasoline is sold without alcohol additives; regular gasoline does contain some alcohol. Various U.S., Japanese, Brazilian, and European-origin cars are driven here. Many vehicles are available locally; costs are higher than vehicles from the U.S. Brazilian and Japanese vehicles are the most common, but none sold locally meet U.S. safety requirements and smog control specifications. Write to post for more detailed information if you are considering purchasing a car in Paraguay.

Automobiles purchased for shipment to Paraguay should be modestly equipped and not ostentatious in appearance (in keeping with the image that the U.S. Embassy wishes to project in this developing country). Do not purchase sumptuous, top-of-the-line foreign- or U.S.-produced cars.

Consult with the Embassy if any doubts arise as to whether the vehicle to be purchased lies outside the Ambassador's guidelines. The Ambassador reserves the right to withhold permission to import an inappropriate vehicle or to require that it be reexported upon the transfer of its owner.

Sport cars with low-road clearance are unsuitable for local cobblestone streets and unpaved roads. A diesel-powered car or low-consumption compact would be most economical and would probably have fewer maintenance problems. U.S. cars hold up well, although obtaining spare parts can involve long delays when repairs are needed, as many are not available locally. Most parts purchased here are expensive. Service is fair-to-good.

Practical modifications for new cars ordered include 4-ply tires, heavy-duty springs and shock absorbers, and a kilometer speedometer. An air-conditioner is welcome during the long humid summer. Also, a light-colored roof will reflect the heat. Favorites for service and resale are 4- or 6-cylinder, standard transmission, 4-door sedans with radios. Diesel engines are preferred.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Of Paraguay's 28,000-kilometer road network, 2,700 kilometers are paved. Some roads are graded earth or gravel and are susceptible to closure from rains and flooding for considerable periods of time. The southeast portion of the country, east of the Paraguay River, where the major economic activity of the country is concentrated, has the best roads. Most of the main towns in this area, and from Asuncion to Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Montevideo, and Buenos Aires, are linked by paved or all-weather roads. Considerable highway expansion and improvement is planned or in the construction stage. Emphasis is on making the Chaco more accessible year round, routing truck transport of agricultural products to the Brazilian Port of Paranagua, and integrating the hydroelectric projects at Itaipu and Yacyreta into the national economy.

Road travel is the most common transportation for domestic freight and passenger travel. More than 50% of road traffic consists of trucks and buses. Excellent bus service is available to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, but distances and travel times are long.

Public transportation in Asuncion consists of taxis and buses. Radio taxis are available and reliable either by phone or at stands throughout the city; they are scarcer at night. City bus routes are extensive, with fullest and most frequent service downtown. Unfortunately, bus stops and routes are not well marked. Buses are noisy, uncomfortable, and in ill-repair. During rush hours they are dangerously over-crowded. To add to the adventure, buses often slow down rather than stop to discharge and pick up passengers. Bus travel is not recommended.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Paraguay’s external ties are mainly through air, road, and river transport. Great distances and poor and sometimes impassable roads limit overland travel. Most travel in the interior is for business, not pleasure.

Paraguay’s most important transportation system is the inland waterway that connects Paraguay's inland ports with the Atlantic Ocean. It begins with the Paraguay River that runs north-south across the country and the Parana River that serves as a border with Brazil and Argentina, and continues past the Argentine Port of Rosario to Buenos Aires. Together with the Rio de la Plata, it constitutes a 3,170-kilometer system of transport, handling over 60% of the international traffic in the area.

Asuncion, the largest port, serves Paraguay’s most important productive areas and is the only port with modern berthing facilities and cargo-handling equipment. Facilities are limited, however, and transit areas are very congested. With completion of the Itaipu, Yacyreta, and Corpus hydroelectric projects, water levels on the Parana River should increase from Encarnacion to Saltos del Guaira. This will open the Parana River to oceangoing vessels and increase the importance of both Encarnacion and Ciudad del Este as inland ports.

For other than leisure sightseeing, air transportation is the only practical means of international travel to and from Asuncion. Asuncion is served by Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, a Category 3 airport. As such, there are no direct flights via U.S. carriers to the U.S. TAM offers daily flights between the U.S. and Asuncion. American Airlines offers daily flights to Miami, New York, and Dallas through Sao Paulo, Brazil. Varig also offers daily flights to Miami or New York through Sao Paulo. Airlines connecting Asuncion with other capitals and major cities include: American Airlines, Aerolineas Argentinas, Varig, PLUNA, LAN Chile, Lloyd Aereo Boliviano, Iberia, and TAM. The internal airline, ARPA, operates with a Cessna Caravan from Monday to Friday. Domestic air traffic is small but important, as it is often the only means into other sections of the country, especially during bad weather. Airfields range from an all-weather airport under construction at Mariscal Estigarribia (halfway between Asuncion and Santa Cruz, Bolivia), where only military flights operate; to a restricted all-weather airport under the control of the Itaipu Binational Authority, north of Ciudad del Estate; to an International Airport named Guarani located in Minga Guazu, and to a few concrete strips in the more remote interior.

There is also daily bus service between Asuncion and Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and Foz de Iguazu. There are very comfortable, air-conditioned executive buses, in addition to the regular buses.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 8/16/2004 10:59 AM

Asuncion’s telephone system is good but suffers from maintenance and repair problems. The minimum monthly telephone charge is about $3.35 for a limit of 90, 3-minute calls. Long-distance service is available almost worldwide, with good connections. Calls to the U.S. are normally of excellent quality. Costs for a long-distance call to anywhere in the continental U.S. is: weekdays 33 cents a minute.

Access to AT&T's USA Direct is now available, either through the Mission’s Mitel telephone system or sign up for an AT&T calling card. Arrangements may be made to have access directly from your home telephone as well. Also, you can join MCI and U.S. Sprint calling systems.

An ordinary telegram to the U.S. costs about 37 cents a word.

All costs listed above and throughout this report change considerably, depending on the prevailing exchange rate.

Internet Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:00 AM

The Embassy maintains multiple terminals with dedicated internet access, and several local companies offer internet services. Cost is usually in dollars and averages $30 a month for unlimited access but does not include the cost of the local call to the internet provider. Contact the ISM Section for recommendations on internet service providers.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

An APO, located in the Embassy, is available for the use of authorized members of the official community. The following services are provided: first-class letters, certified mail service and return receipts, parcels, insurance for parcels, and sale of U.S. stamps.

Registered mail service is not provided, in or out.

Flights carrying APO letter mail arrive 5 days a week; outgoing mail departs 5 times a week. Transit time for letter mail can be from 3 days to 2 weeks, or longer, depending on connections and shipping options.

Package limitations: First-class and express mail: maximum length and girth combined 108 inches and maximum weight 70 pounds. SAM and parcel post: maximum length and girth combined 100 inches, and maximum weight 70 pounds. Do not send the following items via APO: all poisons; animals; fruits, vegetables, fresh meat, perishables; gold; pressurized containers; oxidizing agents; articles intended for resale; and articles destined for persons not authorized APO privileges (i.e., Peace Corps volunteers, nondirect hire Americans, etc.).

Show the APO address on all correspondence as follows:

Name: U.S. Embassy-Asuncion Organization or Agency Unit No. APO AA 34036

Unclassified airpouch is used for official communications. Airpouch cannot be used for personal mail, unless you are a contract person with USAID. Contract personnel are restricted to envelope mail not weighing more than l pound for personal mail and 2 pounds for enveloped mail and documents necessary for their work. Pouch is available on a restricted basis, however, for secure shipment from the U.S. of certain items such as prescription medicines, eyeglasses, orthopedic supplies, or important papers (e.g., stock certificates). Such packages must be double-wrapped, with the outer wrapping bearing the appropriate postage to Washington, D.C., clearly marked VIA AIR, and addressed to:

Superintendent, Diplomatic Pouch Room Department of State Washington, D. C. 20520

The inner wrapping should bear no postage, be clearly marked AIR POUCH and bear the address of the person at post. It must also indicate the nature of the contents. The proper address for the inside wrapper is:

Full Name 3020 Asuncion PI., NW Washington, D. C. 20520-3020

For those wishing to use international mail, the address is:

Full Name Embajada de los Estados Unidos de America Avenida Mariscal Lopez 1776 C.C. 402 Asuncion, Paraguay

The Paraguayan mail system is becoming more reliable, but do not send money or valuables through the mail.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:01 AM

Asuncion has four TV stations and two cable TV stations: Channel 2, Channel 4, Channel 9, and Channel 13. Channels 4, 9 and 13 have their national networks on subsidiary channels. Cable TV is growing. The main cable companies, CVC/TVD and CMM, carry channels from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela, and the U.S. (ESPN, CMM carries HBO Ole, CVC carries CNN in Spanish). The main news programs are transmitted by Channels 4, 9, and 13 at about 12:30 pm and at 8 pm and cover news from around the world. Most of the series shown come from the U.S. and are dubbed into Spanish. The color system used in Paraguay is PAL-N (similar to Uruguay and Argentina). A bi-standard set NTSC/PAL-N will allow you to watch TV and view American video movies. A good 20-inch bi-standard (or “bi-norma”) TV set currently costs about $250 if purchased here. U.S. color TV sets are not compatible with the PAL-N system. A bi-standard video recorder would allow you to tape from local TV. Several video-cassette-DVD clubs operate in Asuncion. These clubs do not necessarily operate with the same standards found in the U.S., and selection is not as varied. Many Americans arrange to have programs sent to them from the U.S. Paraguayan TV stations may be received on indoor antennas. In Asuncion, around 10 AM stations and 12 FM stations are available. There are approximately 30 other stations outside of Asuncion. All broadcast popular and traditional Latin music, local news, and sports. Most of the FM stations transmit music in stereo, including the latest U.S. and British popular music. For English-language broadcasts, bring a shortwave radio, or you can buy one locally. A simple long wire outdoor antenna can help to bring in shortwave stations. Bring stereo equipment. The 50-cycle current means that in addition to a 110v-220v transformer, tape recorders without DC motors require modification. Tape recorders may also need a different capstan, which can usually be bought from the manufacturer. If possible, have these adjustments made before arrival. Newer equipment, however, is generally multi-voltage and multi-cycle (as is computer equipment). Please check before departure.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:02 AM

Five independent daily newspapers are printed in Asuncion; ABC Color and Ultima Hora have the largest circulations. Papers can be purchased from newsboys at street corners or at kiosks and gas stations. Home delivery can also be arranged. The following newspapers are located on the worldwide web as indicated: Ultima Hora at ABC Color at La Nacion at Noticias El Diario at Newsweek’s international edition is sold at newsstands. The only English-language newspaper available is the Buenos Aires Herald, which usually arrives in Asuncion on the day of publication. Subscriptions from the U.S. arrive from 1 day to 2 weeks after being sent, depending on the APO. Many English-language periodicals may be read at the Roosevelt Library of the CCPA. If you wish to order your own magazines, have the subscriptions sent via APO. Subscriptions to the Latin American editions of Time and Newsweek and to the regular edition of People can be made through a local distributor.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:02 AM

The small Embassy Health Unit is open to all official personnel and their dependents (with medical clearance). It has the part-time services of a registered nurse and receives periodic visits from the regional medical officer (RMO) who is stationed in Santiago, Chile. Standard immunizations are given, and nonprescription medicines are stocked to treat routine illnesses. Asuncion is on the unhealthful post list. Although several well-trained physicians and surgeons practice in the city and several hospitals are adequately staffed and equipped to handle most emergency medical and surgical problems, persons requiring complicated diagnostic work and all but minor surgery cases are normally evacuated to Miami. Many doctors are U.S. trained, including dentists, orthodontists, ophthalmologists, obstetricians, pediatricians, and surgeons. The U.S. Health Unite recommends two hospitals for routine operations and diagnoses. They are the Baptist Hospital with 44 beds, and the Sanatorio San Roque with 66 beds. The two hospitals provide emergency rooms, intensive care units, lab and x-ray facilities, and doctors on 24-hour call.

Community Health Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Most of Asuncion (73%) has a modern municipal water supply, and unfluoridated tapwater connected to the system (CORPOSANA) is considered safe to drink. As a health precaution, however, the RMO recommends that all drinking water be boiled and/or treated. Most hotels and larger homes are connected to the system. When contracting for a house, determine whether the CORPOSANA system has been installed. If not, note that well water, in and outside the city, must be boiled at least 10 minutes to ensure potability. Asuncion's sewers empty untreated waste into the Paraguay River. Many restaurants observe acceptable standards of health. Routine inspections are not considered to be reliable, however.

Milk is available in several forms. It is very safe to use long life milk which is available in all stores. The quality is good and it is sold at a good price. Powdered milk is also available.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Regional endemic diseases include measles, rabies, hepatitis, typhoid fever, tetanus, diphtheria, polio, parasitic diseases, and tuberculosis. Immunized healthy Americans taking normal sanitary precautions, however, are relatively safe from most diseases. Malaria suppressants are unnecessary. Be sure to have your Hepatitis A vaccine and other routine immunizations up to date before departing for post.

Certain precautions are important. Wash all vegetables and fruits thoroughly, and have yearly physical exams for all household help. Since hookworm is prevalent, wear shoes or sandals outdoors. Fungi infections are common during the hot summers, and allergies aggravated by the many lovely flowering trees are common. Frequent climatic changes, particularly in winter, cause colds and other upper respiratory infections.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:20 AM

The Mission has an active American Family Member Program in which all agencies participate, but employment opportunities for eligible family members (EFM) are limited mainly to clerical/secretarial fields. A working knowledge of Spanish is necessary for most positions.

The American School of Asuncion, the Asuncion Christian Academy, and the Pan American International School recruit teachers from the U.S., but occasionally have vacancies that are filled by locally recruited U.S.-certified teachers. Persons interested in teaching positions should contact the schools’ directors: American School of Asuncion, Unit 4750, APO AA 34036; Asuncion Christian Academy, Unit 4751, APO AA 34036; or Pan American International School, B. Davia/FUND/PAIS, ASU 10484, 7339 NW 54th St. Miami, FL 33166.

There is a need for registered nurses with Spanish language capability on the local economy, but the pay is considerably lower than that offered in the United States.

Although no work permits requirements or other restrictions for foreigners exist under Paraguayan law, possibilities for paid local employment for EFMs have been extremely limited. American, third-country, and international organizations are active in Paraguay, but most job openings are in the secretarial/translating fields. Negative factors such as lower pay scales, longer hours, and bilingual requirements hinder jobseekers. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) provides assistance to family members who wish to work.

American Embassy - Asuncion

Post City Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:22 AM

Older than Buenos Aires, Asuncion has not yet lost its aura of provincialism and isolation. Founded on August 15, 1537, and once the capital of the colonial River Plata Viceroyalty, it remains the center of Paraguayan activity. Increasing numbers of visitors (mostly from Argentina and Brazil) are attracted to Paraguay during the Southern Hemisphere winter. Modern hotels and office buildings are springing up beside weathered structures of an earlier vintage in Asuncion's bustling downtown shopping and business area. With profuse, colorful year-round blossoms in residential gardens and along tree-lined avenues, Asuncion retains a quiet charm.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:25 AM

The Chancery and offices of other U.S. Government organizations in Paraguay are in Asuncion. All U.S. personnel assigned to Paraguay, except Peace Corps volunteers, live in the city. The U.S. Mission consists of the Department of State, Agency for International Development (USAID), Defense Attaché Office (DAO), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Peace Corps (PC), Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS), Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Department of Treasury (DOT). The Ambassador, assisted by the DCM, provides overall guidance and coordination of activities. The Embassy compound, located at Avenida Mariscal Lopez 1776, tel. 213-715, houses State, DAO, ODC, DEA, and DOJ. Locations of other Mission components are as follows:

USAID Juan de Salazar 364, tel. 220-715/20

PC 162 Chaco Boreal, tel. 600-155

Embassy work hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm with a 1-hour lunch break, Monday-Thursday. Friday hours are 7:30 am to 11:30 am. The Embassy duty officer is on call after hours and on weekends. Peace Corps office hours are 8 am to noon and 1 pm to 5 pm. USAID office hours are 7:30 am to 5:30 pm Monday-Thursday. Friday hours are 8:00 am to noon.

The Embassy State Department component consists of the Political, Public Diplomacy, Economic, Consular, Regional Security, and Management Sections. The Management serves the entire Mission.

DAO. The Defense Attaché‚ acts as the Chief of Mission's military adviser and reports on military related developments in Paraguay. He/she represents the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staffs, and each of the Armed Services to the host country and to third-country military attachés. He/she coordinates Defense Attaché Office activities with other local U.S. Government agencies in support of the country team strategy, as well as executes other missions directed by DOD and the Chief of Mission.

USAID. The Agency for International Development (USAID) and its predecessor agencies have been providing development assistance to Paraguay for 57 years. The first U.S. bilateral development program started in 1942 under the so-called Servicios, followed by the Point Four programs, the Alliance for Progress and finally, USAID. The current USAID/Paraguay began in FY2001 and ends in FY2005. The strategy focuses on USAID/Paraguay’s comparative advantages to develop state-of-the-art innovations that are replicable by other donors and in its close working relationships in civil society and local government. These areas of strength contribute to the maximization of impact by taking into account institutional, economic, social, and political constraints. USAID/Paraguay remains unique among donors by working exclusively through NGOs and outside the structure of the central government.

Democracy. The challenges to democracy in Paraguay are large and growing. The growing dissatisfaction with the national government has led to increased unrest throughout the country. The fiscal deficit continues to be a serious problem. The recession in Paraguay is now in its sixth year with little sign of relief.

USAID/Paraguay is increasing the ability of targeted local governments to plan, manage, and generate additional resources, and thus improve their capacity to deliver services. The Mission will improve local government capacity by developing systems for improved management and technical skills. The Mission is also increasing transparency and citizen participation, while at the same time reducing the opportunities for corruption at the local government level. Finally, this strategy concentrates on clearly defining and expanding the role of local governments by increasing their authority through greater decentralization of resources, decision-making, and basic public service delivery.

Developing an active civil society will increase citizen participation, both at individual and organizational levels, in the public decision making process. Activities in this area include the continuation and expansion of public forums and debates on a variety of issues with locally and nationally elected representatives. USAID’s program is also increasing citizen participation in policy processes and in the oversight of public institutions. Civil society organizations (CSOs) are being strengthened to monitor and pressure for transparency and reduced corruption in government functions.

Expanding the national democratic reform process represents the continuation of efforts begun three years ago. There is a critical need and urgency to engage the Paraguayan government in a national dialogue that leads to clear activities that are successfully implemented. The focus is to strengthen democratic practices to meet the goals of an informed and active civil society and to encourage the national reform program in order to define a development agenda that serves national interests.

Environment. Paraguay’s fragile democracy is threatened by the unsustainable exploitation of land, water, and wildlife resources. Long-term economic growth is severely threatened by the depletion of Paraguay’s rich endowment of natural resources. Paraguay, with one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world, continues to lose a significant percentage of its remaining forest cover every year, threatening the future of unique regional ecosystems, such as the Chaco dry forest, the Pantanal wetlands, and the interior Atlantic rain forest. Ecoregional conservation plans have been developed based on a series of stakeholder analyses, biodiversity and socio-economic assessments, cross-border planning workshops, and inter-governmental review of conservation plans.

Many Paraguayan NGOs have the potential and interest in participating in regional efforts to influence the conservation of these key ecoregions. Technical assistance and training are supporting improved coordination between international and local efforts.

Conservation effectiveness in Paraguay is currently limited by policy, legal, and financial constraints. In order for ecoregional conservation plans to be successfully implemented, Paraguay must develop the necessary mechanisms to support them. Legal, regulatory and policy changes will be targeted in Paraguay, based on ecoregional conservation plans, bilateral treaties, and other international agreements. Participation in developing these mechanisms directly complements planned Mission activities in democracy directed at sustaining a policy dialogue on key national issues.

Reproductive Health. Paraguay's population will continue to grow at a rate well above the average for Latin America. The Reproductive Health Strategic Objective focuses on the provision of health services from both public and private sources in order to increase the quality and availability of health care in an efficient, cost-effective manner. A demonstration model of a maternal health system is being implemented in order to assure that essential obstetric care is provided to women during pregnancy and childbirth.

USAID/Paraguay strongly believes that decentralization is a viable means to achieve access to quality reproductive health care. Although local governments are often weak in terms of administrative capacity and resource availability, they are also generally seen as more responsive and accountable to citizens at the local level.

USAID/Paraguay emphasizes training in planning and management, as well as placing greater emphasis on the generation of resources to pay for health services. This program is strengthening local-level skills to provide health services with a focus on reproductive health outreach, community participation in health service delivery, and a preventative approach that will respond to community needs.

An alliance of local NGOs is currently providing decentralized health services in four departments. One organization is providing health planning and management assistance at the municipal level. Another is providing training in reproductive health techniques. The third is improving access to quality reproductive health care offered in hospitals, health center, and health posts. These activities include the involvement of communities in increasing contraceptive use, providing more information concerning conception and pregnancy, improving prenatal care, promoting safe deliveries attended by a competent specialist, and emphasizing the importance of postnatal care.

Economic Growth. The Mission has developed an Economic Growth program that seeks to ameliorate the effects of a rapid downward economic spiral on the poor. Recent studies estimate that the level of poverty in Paraguay has increased, with the majority living in rural areas. USAID/Paraguay is currently supporting policy reforms to address poverty issues through the provision of decentralized basic services, such as, water, solid waste collection, education, public works, and health care. The economic growth activities will add income generation for the poor to the basic mix of activities, will encourage economic reforms, and by seeking to generate employment opportunities.

Summary of USAID Activities

I. Democracy Strategic Objective: Improved Responsiveness and Accountability of Key Democratic Institutions 1. Local Government · Chemonics · Alter Vida

2. National Reform · Association for Rural Development (ARD) · Management Systems International (MSI) · Instituto de Estudios Comparados en Ciencias Penales y Sociales INECIP

3. Civil Society · Centro de Información y Recursos para el Desarollo (CIRD) · Management Systems International– Florida International University – press Project · INCECIP (mediation project)

II. Environment Strategic Objective: Improved Management of an Expanded Protected Areas System. · IDEA · DESDECHACO · Conservation of Biological Diversity-World Wildlife Fund and The Nature Conservancy

III. Reproductive Health Strategic Objective: Increased Use of Voluntary Reproductive Health Services. · CIRD · Centro Paraguayo de Estudios de Poblacion (CEPEP) · PRIME II

IV. Reducing Poverty (Economic Growth) · Chemonics – Paraguay Vende

FBIS. FBIS, Asuncion Unit, is a regional office responsible for collecting current information from the news media of Brazil and Paraguay. This information includes political, economic, social, and related material obtained by monitoring the radio, TV, and print media of these countries.

Peace Corps. The Peace Corps was established by the U.S. Congress in 1961 to promote world peace and friendship. The Peace Corps goals are:

1. To provide interested countries with volunteers to help the people of such countries meet their needs for trained personnel;

2. To promote a better understanding of the people of the U.S. on the part of the peoples being served; and

3. To help promote a better understanding of the people of the U.S. through returning volunteers.

Peace Corps has been working to improve the quality of life of Paraguayan people since 1967. At present there are five main program sectors in which volunteers serve: agriculture, natural resources, education, health, and small enterprise development. Volunteers work in a variety of different areas that help to meet human development needs. The training and skills of the individual volunteers are matched to host country needs. Most volunteers are located in the rural areas of eastern Paraguay where they live and work with Paraguayans in small towns or communities. Recently, volunteers have begun work in Urban Youth Development and Municipal Services Development.

Before becoming volunteers, those accepted as Peace Corps trainees experience 3 months of training in languages (Spanish and Guarani), technical studies, and cross-cultural adaptation. The training is conducted in Guarambare community located about 35 kilometers from Asuncion. The trainees acquire new skills or improve or adapt existing ones before taking an oath to the U.S. Government to serve as Peace Corps volunteers for 2 years.

Peace Corps/Paraguay has received support from several agencies of the U.S. Mission and looks forward to meeting and working with new arrivals. All U.S. Mission personnel and families are welcome, with prior appointments, to visit the Peace Corps office or training center.

The Peace Corps program includes about 170 volunteers. Three American and 10 national staff members are responsible for programming, administration, and supervision of volunteers who work with Paraguayan counterparts throughout the country. Their activities include agricultural extension and research, home economics, cooperatives, environmental sanitation, nutrition, health education, nursing, and forestry and national parks.

USODC - The Office of Defense Cooperation represents the Secretary of Defense, through the Commander in Chief, United States Southern Command, with the host government. It functions as military consultant to the host country armed forces at MOD/Service Command level and provides a U.S. military presence in the host country. It also directs all U.S. military efforts with respect to the International Security Assistance Program and performs logistics management, transportation, and fiscal management and contract administration of country programs. The USODC Chief also serves as adviser to the U.S. Ambassador on all military matters, except attaché‚ matters, and has the following responsibilities: · Assists the Ambassador in preparing emergency evacuation plans, disaster relief plans, internal defense plans, etc. Develops plans and programs in conjunction with the country team and assists in the preparation of assessment and Ambassador's goals and objectives. Serves as a full member of the country team; · Coordinates U.S. military activities with other U.S. Government agencies and host-country authorities; and · Maintains close liaison with the host country military to foster a friendly relationship based on professionalism. Makes periodic visits to host units and installations and participates in host military ceremonies and representational activities. The International Military Education and Training Program (IMET), administered by ODC, is the principal program for accomplishing US military objectives in Paraguay. Through the program, the U.S. Government funds professional and technical courses for Paraguayan officers and enlisted men at U.S. schools. Because the program is small, ODC has developed other U.S. military initiatives to enhance military-to-military relationships and assist ODC in accomplishing U.S. Mission goals and objectives. These include funding seminars, visits, orientation tours and subject matter exchanges, both to the U.S. and to Paraguay through traditional CIMC activities program (CA) and through the Latin American Cooperative Program (LATAM COOP).


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:25 AM

The Embassy does not have temporary quarters. On occasion, a vacant house can be used when permanent quarters are not ready. In 2000, a single room at a modest hotel cost $77 a night. Doubles average $80, with extra costs for each additional occupant.

The Embassy General Services Section normally makes reservations based on stated employee preference and availability of accommodations.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:27 AM

Dedicated government-owned or-leased properties are provided for the Ambassador, DCM, and Marine Security Guards. State, DEA, DOJ, and 50% DAO have a STGL program. ODC, DOT, and 50% DAO have Private Leases. PC, and USAID have Government leases managed by their agencies. Homes, within OBO guidelines and within current local quarters allowances, will be leased and be available upon arrival. Advise the Embassy MGT and GSO of any special requirements upon assignment. Housing assignments are made by the Inter-Agency Housing Board. Other agencies obtain and lease their own housing. A variety of housing exists and personnel are generally satisfied with their quarters.

Except for a few busy thoroughfares, residential streets are narrow, cobblestoned, and tree lined. Most personnel live within 3 miles of the Embassy. Rental houses are fairly new and of different styles; most of them are two stories. New apartment buildings are available.

Older houses are larger than U.S. houses, but newer ones are comparable in size. A typical house will have living and dining room (not always separate), a study, two to four bedrooms (smaller than U.S.), two to three bathrooms, kitchen/pantry, laundry area, servant's quarters, and garage or carport. Fireplaces are common, and essential, since houses are built to stay cool in hot weather and provide little comfort during cold winter weather. Most houses have gardens, suitable for outdoor entertaining, and most have small swimming pools.

The Ambassador’s residence was built in 1960; it is completely furnished and equipped. Color photographs of the interior and exterior of the residence are available at OBO/Washington, D.C. A guest suite, den/dining room, kitchen, and service area are located on the ground floor. Representational rooms, library, and bedrooms are on the second floor. A large patio, landscaped gardens, a swimming pool, and a tennis court are in the surrounding area. Electric current in the residence is 110v, 50-cycle, AC. Some U.S. appliances must be adapted to the 50-cycle rate.

Other personnel for whom government-leased quarters are provided should consult their agency or the post for current information. The Marine House is located on the Embassy compound.

Furnishings Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Most agencies provide furniture and appliances for assigned employees. This includes living and dining room furnishings, rugs and draperies, bedroom furniture (including desk), dinette set, kitchen cabinet, and an outdoor table with folding chairs.

Standardized Drexel, Berkline, or Lexington furniture, which is functional, will meet the needs of the average family. The post will also assist with screening if it is not already installed or otherwise provided by the landlord. Most houses have shutters.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Short water outages occur occasionally in Asuncion. Laundry areas and kitchens do not always have hot water. Showers are much more common than bathtubs. Since shower dimensions and height of rod vary, buy shower curtains here. Except for NIMA, all other agencies provide refrigerator, freezer, stove, washer and dryer when available. The Embassy or concerned agency supplies hot water heaters for the laundry and kitchen for housing, as necessary. Many new homes have central heating and air-conditioning. The Embassy provides to State Department houses two electric space heaters, fans, one reverse cycle air-conditioner for each occupied bedroom, and extra units for living areas depending on availability. Stoves, refrigerators, and washers are standard basic equipment. Dryers are provided for State, DAO, and FBIS employees.

Paraguayan kitchens, particularly in older houses, are small and lack storage and working space; fitting in large American appliances can be a problem.

Short power outages occur occasionally. Electrical current is 220v, 50-cycle, AC. Appliances using 110v current in the U.S. need transformers. A 1,500w transformer is necessary for high wattage appliances. The Embassy supplies transformers for all government equipment and assists employees with all other transformer requirements to the maximum extent possible depending on availability.

Bring irons to post. Because of the large current requirement, many prefer to buy a 220v iron rather than to use a transformer on a 110v model. Electric blankets can also be used. Employees with small children may want to include a vaporizer; they can be used with a transformer, although the motor gradually weakens. Do not bring electric clocks, as they require an impractical conversion. One or two small fans will greatly improve air circulation during hot weather, since some houses are not centrally air-conditioned and rely on individual window units. Toasters, blenders, mixers, waffle irons, food processors, electric juicers, slow cookers, and electric countertop ovens are useful.

State Department personnel are currently supplied, availability permitting, the following: ironing board, fireplace tools, stepladder, vacuum cleaner, manual lawnmower, and patio furniture, as well as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.

Food Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:28 AM

As an agricultural country, Paraguay offers ample quantity, quality, and selection of locally produced fruits and vegetables as well as beef, pork, and poultry. Staple items and processed foods are not offered in the variety found in the U.S. Packaged and processed food items, such as those found in the United States, are not readily available and are generally much more expensive. However, comparable substitutes, either from Paraguay or neighboring South American countries, for nearly all items are available at very reasonable prices. Several large markets in the city sell a variety of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, beef, pork, chicken, freshwater fish, flowers, plants, herbs, and a variety of household items. Meat is also sold in small butcher shops and supermarkets. It is inspected, but not always refrigerated as it is sold freshly butchered. Beef is plentiful, but the variety of cuts is limited. Since beef is often tough, many Mission personnel will pay higher prices at better butcher shops to assure quality. Poultry, pork, hot dogs, cold cuts, and some freshwater fish are available. Veal is uncommon and lamb is rare. Supermarkets sell some precut, packaged meat and poultry. Good-sized supermarkets, scattered throughout the city, compare on a smaller scale to U.S. supermarkets. They also carry wines and liquors, and depending on size, some kitchenware, hardware, toys, stationary supplies, and clothing. Most processed food is imported. Since Paraguayans depend primarily on fresh foods, the selection of canned fruits, vegetables, soups, or meals-in-a-can is limited. Similarly, their tastes do not demand great variety in snack foods, convenience foods, sauces, and salad dressings. Paraguayan cheeses and those most commonly imported are bland types. More robust and highly flavored cheeses are imported in small amounts. Either skim or whole milk is available with a long shelf life and does not need refrigeration until ready to use. Yogurt is available in limited flavors and cottage cheese and cream cheese are available at times.

No canned pet food is sold, although dry pet food is available. You can buy liver and kidneys from local neighborhood butcher shops. Mix it with kitchen scraps, for an inexpensive, yet nourishing, pet food. The selection of vegetables has expanded over the years due to the influxes of agricultural technologies brought in by Japanese and Taiwanese immigrants. You can find a good selection of fresh green vegetables in local markets or the Tuesday agro-shopping fair in the Mariscal Lopez Shopping Center.

No home is more than a couple of blocks from a neighborhood grocery store (“despensa”), which stocks a little of everything. Bakeries offer a good assortment of white and brown bread and rolls. Specialty shops sell cakes and pastries, cold cuts and sausages, and ice cream. Yard area permitting, a home garden can add diversity to seasonal menus. Insects can be a minor problem, but most plants grow quickly and flourish. Frozen foods are not normally available in Asuncion but the freezer section in the U.S. Government-supplied refrigerator is handy for keeping stocks of meat, seasonal fruit, vegetables, and prepared meals.

Currently, there is no cooperative commissary at post. An Embassy snack bar located by the compound swimming pool serves sandwiches, hamburgers, and a few hot dishes during work hours.

Those with APO privileges can also purchase groceries on-line via the Internet; for example

Clothing Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:29 AM

Styles are much the same as in the U.S., but are influenced by the long, hot summers and short, cold winters. Although almost any article of clothing can be found in Asuncion, the choice is somewhat limited by U.S. standards. The search can be time-consuming for those unfamiliar with Asuncion's local shops. Thus, most personnel bring complete wardrobes and supplement them via U.S. mail-order catalogs. Children's clothing is also available. Bring underwear, socks and hosiery, diapers and baby clothes, and bathing suits. Jeans are popular for school and casual wear.

Dressmakers and tailors can make formal gowns, dresses, skirts, and blouses for women; shorts, sun suits, and other clothing for children; suits, slacks, and jackets for men. A good selection of fine wool, cotton, and dressy fabrics can be found locally, whereas greater diversity in synthetic and wash-and-wear fabrics is available in the U.S. Asuncion's cobblestone streets are hard on all footwear; women's shoes with low or thick heels are practical. Sandals are popular in summer, when stockings are not usually worn.

Woolen or other warm clothing is needed during the June to September winter for the many cold, damp days and nights. Sweaters or jackets that can be layered or removed are particularly useful. Bring cotton flannel sleepwear and warm slippers. Umbrellas and raincoats are necessary. Locally made embroidered shirts, blouses, and dresses of fine cotton fabric called “aho-poi” are a good and useful buy in Asuncion.

Men Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:29 AM

Bring a good supply of lightweight suits, sports coats, slacks, and shirts. Depending upon the job and frequency of outside contact with government and business officials, more casual business attire is permissible during hot weather. Likewise, casual clothes may be worn to all restaurants and to some cultural events. In Paraguay's short cold season, some winter weight wool suits, sports coats, and slacks will be useful.

Women Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:29 AM

Loose fitting cotton daytime dresses are more comfortable in summer heat than nylon and certain other synthetics such as polyester knit. Dressy cottons or other washable fabrics are suitable for casual eveningwear. For more formal events, simple to elaborate cocktail dresses are appropriate. Heavier weight dresses are needed for winter wear; jackets or stoles are useful. Hats or gloves are seldom worn, but occasionally a hat to shield the sun's rays or leather gloves to ward off the morning cold are practical.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:30 AM

Imported medicines, drugs, toiletries, and cosmetics are available locally, but can be expensive. Certain U.S. brand toiletries, such as Johnson’s Baby Powder, are made under license in Argentina and Brazil and are less expensive than those produced in the U.S. If generic brands satisfy you, you will find most everything here. If you require special brands of products, or have a favorite brand, bring them to post or arrange to have them mailed through the APO.

U.S.-type hardware items and tools, including garden tools, are available locally but are higher in price and limited in variety. Bring bath and bed linens and blankets to post. Lovely “nanduti” lace or “aho-poi” embroidered placemats and tablecloths, guest towels, and doilies are handmade in Paraguay and sold at reasonable prices. Items difficult to find or expensive locally are: books, stationery, greeting cards in English, cocktail napkins, party supplies, special sewing or craft materials, games, toys, sports equipment, fishing gear, pool supplies, flashlights, antimildew products, and airtight storage containers. .

Basic Services Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:31 AM

Tailors and dressmakers, cobblers, and barbershops offer satisfactory services at reasonable prices. Most hairdressers are small-scale neighborhood establishments unlike U.S.-style salons. Several higher quality salons offer many services at better prices than those in the U.S. Prices and quality vary. Dry cleaning services are acceptable. Laundry is generally done at home; hotel laundry facilities are expensive. Inexpensive, good quality work is done on picture framing, furniture upholstering, and drapery making. Attractive wicker and rattan furniture is made locally. Appliance and auto repair shops are reasonable but often do not meet U.S. standards and may not have parts. When thinking of items to bring with you for your car, remember filters, belts, spark plugs, and extra tires. Fumigators, plumbers, and electricians are usually found through lessors, friends, and Embassy lists. Caterers supply food and equipment for large parties.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:32 AM

Domestic help is usually found through friends and Embassy lists maintained in the CLO office. Well-trained domestic help is rare, and good cooks are hard to find. Third-country nationals may be brought to post. Most all domestic help will probably only speak Spanish and Guarani, rarely English.

Personnel with representational responsibilities normally employ two domestics-a cook and a maid. Most other personnel hire domestics, usually a maid who may also cook and/or care for children and is paid according to job responsibilities. Large families may have a maid and a nursemaid. Laundresses, cleaning ladies, or gardeners usually come once or twice a week. Wages do not represent the total expense to the employer. Food is provided to day workers, and live-in servants may receive food or allowances. Most houses have quarters for one live-in servant. The employer supplies furniture, bed, and bath linens. Work dresses, uniforms, and routine medical aid may also be provided. After completing one continuous year of service, servants receive a 13th-month bonus (Christmas bonus). For employees who work less than 1 year, a bonus will be established taking 1/12 of the total amount of all salaries paid during the calendar year. Under Paraguayan Law 1085, domestics - including regularly employed cooks, maids, laundresses, gardeners, chauffeurs, and nursemaids must be covered by social security. It is not elective with either the employer or the domestic. All servants must have a medical examination at the employer's expense. The post will inform you on arrival about current wages and medical tests recommended.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:32 AM

Since most Paraguayans are Roman Catholic, Spanish-language Catholic churches abound. Mass is regularly held in English on Sundays and holidays for English-speaking Catholics by American priests of the Redemptorist Order. The Anglican (Episcopal) Church and Baptist Fellowship hold services and Sunday school in English every Sunday. Anglican and Baptist churches also have services in Spanish, as do the Free Will Methodists, Assemblies of God, and Seventh-day Adventist. The Lutheran and Mennonite churches offer German-language services. Services in Spanish can also be found at the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints (Mormon), Jewish Synagogue (which also has a social club), and the Russian Orthodox Church.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 3/28/2005 3:23 PM The three schools where school-aged children of the Embassy American personnel attend are the American School of Asuncion (ASA), Asuncion Christian Academy (ACA), and Pan American International School (PAIS).

The calendar consists of two semesters. As the seasons are opposite from the northern hemisphere, the summer break falls between December and February. The first semester is in session from early August to mid December and the second from mid February to late June. The schools observe all Paraguayan and some U.S. holidays.

Both ASA and ACA are located in residential neighborhoods within 10 minutes of the Embassy by car and PAIS is about a 20-minute drive, depending on traffic. The Embassy has arranged for school bus transportation for ASA, ACA and PAIS. The cost of this service is covered by the education allowance and is paid automatically by the Embassy

American School of Asuncion (ASA):

The American School of Asuncion is the largest of the three institutions where most school-age children of U.S. officials attend. ASA is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and by the Paraguayan Ministry of Education and Culture. ASA is also recognized by the United States Department of State (DoS) and receives a grant from the DoS through the Office of Overseas Schools. ASA has an enrollment of over 600 students from over 25 countries. School hours are from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM.

ASA offers an instructional program from pre-kindergarten through grade 12 and follows a U.S. standards-based program, which also includes challenging Spanish language courses. In addition to the required curriculum, ASA also offers Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Almost all teachers, except Spanish instructors, are U.S. citizens and U.S. certified.

ASA also provides extensive student activities in leadership, communication, community service, fine arts, visual and performing arts, science and ecology, developing talents, and sports and athletic programs. The school has art, science and computer laboratories, library, instrumental and choral music wing, covered gymnasium and several outdoor athletic areas for sports. All ASA students are required to wear official school dress during school hours.

Phone: (595) (21) 600-479/663-678/603-518 Fax: (595) (21) 603-518 ext 102



School Street Address: Av. España 1175 esquina

Feliciano Marecos

P.O. Box 10093

Asuncion, Paraguay

Mailing Address: American School of Asuncion

1942 NE 148th St. Suite 30020 Miami, FL 33181

APO Address: American Embassy

Unit 4750 APO AA 34036

(For official mail only not to exceed 1 pound)

Dennis Klumpp, Director General:

David Warken, Elementary Principal:

Chris Akin, High School Principal:

Asuncion Christian Academy (ACA):

The Asuncion Christian Academy (ACA) is an interdenominational school sponsored by the evangelical missions in Paraguay. ACA is fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Association of Christian Schools International (ACSI) and recognized by the Paraguayan Ministry of Education. The school provides a Christian academic education to English-speaking children from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th grade.

ACA teaches a US based curriculum and the majority of the teachers hold degrees from accredited universities in the United States. Instruction is in English. ACA offers variety of activities, such as, Student Council, National Honor Society, Soccer, Jester, Portuguese, and French clubs and Camp. These activities vary from year to year depending on the availability and interest of the sponsors. Currently, ACA has an overall enrollment of 173 students; the student body consists of children of different nationalities. School hours are from 7:00 AM to 1:15 PM for High and Middle Schools and 7:10 AM to 1:00 PM for Elementary School.

Phone: (595) (21) 607-378

Fax: (595) (21) 604-855



School Street Address: Av. Santisimo Sacramento 1181

Asuncion, Paraguay Mailing Address: American Embassy

Unit 4751 APO AA 34036

(For official mail only not to exceed 1 pound)

Dawn Monzon, Academic Director:

Pan American International School (PAIS):

Pan American International School offers an international education for students from pre-kindergarten to grade 12. The school is recognized and approved by the Paraguayan Ministry of Education and Culture and holds accreditation status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). PAIS curriculum complies with the U.S., European, Asian, and local requirements, with classes taught in English. PAIS’ extra curricular activities include student council, community service, newsletter, yearbook, and intramural and intercollegiate sports.

The school has an industrial arts room, library, computer rooms, art and music rooms and sports facilities. Currently, PAIS has an overall enrollment of over 200 students from several different nationalities. Classes are from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. PAIS has a prescribed uniform that is worn by all students.

Phone: (595) (21) 645-470/471/472/473

Fax: 595) (21) 645-453 or 683-815



School Street Address: Calle America – esquina 2nd Capital

de la Republica

Urbanizacion Loma Merlo

Zona Aeropuerto, Luque, Paraguay

Mailing Address: Foundation Davia

ASU 10484/PO Box 25734

7339 NW 54th St.

Miami, Fl 33166

APO Address: American Embassy

Unit 4758 APO AA 34036

(For official mail only not to exceed 1 pound)

Ralph Davia, Director General: or

Bea Davia, Academic Director:

Kristen Lugo, Elementary Principal:

Other Local Schools:

Attendance at any other local school requires Spanish-language fluency. In some subjects, standards of the Paraguayan institutions are high, and Paraguayan students may be ahead of their American contemporaries. Curriculums naturally are geared to the local education system, with emphasis on Paraguayan history and geography. Teaching stresses through memorization. English is sometimes taught as a foreign language.

One of the best private Spanish-language institutions is the well-regarded Colegio Internacional that many diplomatic corps children attend. Established by the American Disciples of Christ Church, the school offers kindergarten, primary, and secondary classes. Instruction is by local teachers. English is taught as a foreign language. The extracurricular program, which includes music and sports, is excellent. The most prestigious Catholic school, San Jose, and the leading Catholic school, Santa Teresa de Jesus, offer 12-year academic programs. The Santa Teresa School, run by Catholic nuns, has coeducational kindergarten and primary classes, and a 4-year secondary school. The Goethe Institute, subsidized by the German Government, offers instruction in German and Spanish.

Nursery Schools and Child Care Centers:

There are several English nursery schools at Post using social learning concepts. Most nursery school-aged children of U.S. officials attend Maria’s Preschool (English), The English Playgroup (English) and La Casita de Sandy (Spanish). The CLO will provide an up-to-date listing of nursery schools upon request.

Away From Post Last Updated: 3/28/2005 3:24 PM Employees who choose away-from-post education for their secondary school-age children usually send them to schools in the U.S. The educational counselor in the State Department's Family Liaison Office (FLO) or personnel in the Office of Overseas Schools (A/OS) can furnish information on education in the U.S. The CLO at post also has brochures on U.S. schools and a copy of the guide, Boarding Schools.

Special Needs Education Last Updated: 3/28/2005 3:25 PM

All three schools have only a limited ability to address special needs children with learning disabilities or for children who are especially gifted or talented. Although school literature may mention special needs programs, they may not correspond to U.S. standards. It is highly recommended that parents of children with special needs personally contact the school officials and ask for detailed information about the services offered and the qualifications of the providers.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 3/28/2005 3:26 PM

The University of Alabama offers a Masters of Education program at the American School of Asuncion (ASA) campus. Some Embassy spouses have taken advantage of this opportunity. Private instruction in Paraguayan harps and guitars is available. The instruments themselves are inexpensive and available locally. Piano lessons, and group ballet and Spanish dancing classes are available for children and adults. With permission from local authorities, foreigners may attend lectures at the National University, free of charge. All instruction is in Spanish. No academic credits are awarded.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:37 AM

Participant and spectator sports are available year-round in Asuncion. Some clubs, such as the Yacht and Golf Club and Asuncion Golf offer special rates for diplomats or waive initiation fees. The Yacht and Golf Club includes swimming, tennis, weightlifting, and squash. Many homes have small-to-medium-sized swimming pools A large swimming pool on the Embassy compound (with dressing rooms and showers) is open to Mission personnel and their families. Swimming lessons are given throughout the year at the San Jose School and at the Colegio Internacional, and the CLO coordinates a summer activities program for American children. The Embassy tennis court is available to post personnel. Private tennis instruction is also available. The American School has outdoor facilities for soccer, basketball, volleyball, and baseball, which are available to the community. Asuncion has one bowling center with 12 automatic lanes. Rates are reasonable and shoes may be rented for a small additional fee.

The main spectator sport in Paraguay is soccer. Rugby, basketball, volleyball, tennis, and boxing are also popular. Motorcycle and cross-country automobile races are held from time to time. Fishing on the Paraguay River is principally for dorado, a large, fighting game fish, and several large varieties of catfish. Paraguay sponsors international fishing competitions in spring.

Popular fishing areas are Guraty, a 20-25-minute drive from Asuncion, where boats can be rented; Santa Rosa, 85 kilometers downriver by boat; and Ayolas (300 kilometers south), which has a modern hotel and boat rentals. Villa Florida, a small town on the Tebicuary, a tributary of the Paraguay River, has hotel or camping facilities and boat rentals. Swift currents and an abundance of small piranhas make swimming unsafe in these rivers. Fishing equipment brought to post should include a heavy-duty rod, combination of trolling and bait-casting reel capable of holding 200 yards of 40-pound test line, large spoons, and plugs and wire leaders, as both surubi (catfish) and dorado sometimes exceed 30-40 pounds. Motors are not usually available for rental and are expensive locally. Outboard motors are not covered under household effects (HHE) allowances; they must be shipped at your expense. Small boats (3-8-passenger motor launches) may be purchased locally. Garages service them. Dock-and-storage facilities are available near Asuncion, as well as at the Sajonia Club.

Most hunting is for game birds such as duck, perdiz (South American tinamdu), and doves. Crocodiles, wild boar, deer, jaguar, and puma are found in remote regions of the Chaco, but their status as endangered species means they are generally illegal to hunt. Although hunting on public land has been banned for several years to allow stocks to increase, hunting continues on many private lands. A hunting or fishing license is not required in Paraguay. However, permission must be obtained from landowners for hunting and fishing on private property. Prior approval to bring a personal firearm to Asuncion is required by the Chief of Mission. Contact the Post’s Regional Security Officer (RSO) for more information.

For all practical purposes, big game hunting is impossible, since access to the Chaco is difficult. Bird shooting, especially perdiz, is very popular and easily accomplished, providing one gains access to a nearby “Estancia.” Usually, any of the cattle ranches within 1 hour of Asuncion will have a large population of perdiz. A bird dog is a must for perdiz, a quail-like bird that prefers to run whenever possible. Without a dog, chasing perdiz could be futile in some areas. If you are a bird shooter, bring all your equipment, including reloading components. Although U.S.-made ammunition is very expensive, it is possible to buy Brazilian ammunition at a cost similar to that in the U.S. Bird dogs, although available, are expensive and difficult to find. Bring your own. A 12-gauge shotgun will probably be most versatile;. If you are a die-hard birdshooter, then the traditional lightweight 20 would be ideal.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:40 AM

Museums and buildings of interest in Asuncion include the Ethnological and Archeological Museum, the Military History Museum, the National Pantheon, and the Casa de la Independencia. Near the Cathedral is the first seminary in Asuncion, which has several exhibits of religious artifacts, memorabilia from both wars, and some personal effects of Monsignor Bogarin, former Archbishop of Asuncion. The Bank of Asuncion has restored the former home of one of Mariscal Lopez's brothers, Benigno, and it contains an interesting historical exhibit of currency used in Paraguay. The Botanical Garden contains the Museum of Natural History and a small Indian museum as well as picnic areas, sports fields, and the zoo.

Not far from Asuncion, the town of San Lorenzo has an Indian artifacts museum and shop near the only Gothic-style church in Paraguay. Capiata boasts a private mythological museum, which also has a display from the Triple Alliance and Chaco wars, and a collection of religious wooden statues carved by Indians, who had been instructed by the Franciscans. San Bernardino is Lake Ypacarai's most developed resort town with hotels, a casino, and concerts. On the other side of the lake is Aregua, which has picnic facilities and rowboat rentals. The town of Itaugua is the home of ñanduti, a lace product found only in Paraguay. Every year in December pilgrims trek the 50+ km walk from Asuncion to Caacupe to see the Shrine of the Blue Virgin. Capiata also has a private mythological museum, which has a display from the Triple Alliance and Chaco wars.

Full day or weekend camping trips can be made to Pirareta Falls, Chololo Falls, and Cristal Falls, all less than 100 kilometers from Asuncion. All three have camping areas, and Chololo has a restaurant. You will need 2 or 3 days to visit the ruins of several Jesuit mission towns in southern Paraguay. Some of the travel is on secondary, unpaved roads. Hotel accommodations are available at Encarnacion or Tirol del Paraguay, a hillside resort. A comfortable, round-trip, 2-day ship excursion can be taken upriver to Concepcion. The sprawling Chaco begins almost immediately northwest of Asuncion. For longer trips beyond all-weather roads, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is strongly recommended, as well as camping gear, mosquito netting, and insect repellant. This area is reminiscent of the early American West with its vast open spaces, herds of cattle, and cowboys. It is also a birdwatcher’s paradise and game animals abound here.

The world-famous Iguazu Falls are spectacular. The falls are located at the juncture of the Parana and Iguazu Rivers where the Paraguayan border meets with those of Brazil and Argentina. The falls can be reached in 5 hours by car. An overnight bus can also be taken for those who wish to see the falls and return the same day. It is here that the International Friendship Bridge crosses the Parana to Brazil. At the falls, accommodations in all three countries range from camping areas to luxury hotels.

In planning road travel, you must consider high gas prices as well as the type and conditions of roads to be traveled. Hotels and restaurants are found in larger towns and on both sides of the borders with Argentina and Brazil, but make reservations in advance. Prices are comparable to those in Asuncion.

To have a real change of scene, you must travel to one of the more developed neighboring countries. Visits to cosmopolitan centers such as Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Cordoba, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, or Santiago offer shopping, cultural, and entertainment diversions not found in Asuncion. Ocean beach resorts in Brazil and Uruguay provide a refreshingly different ambiance. When making reservations for travel to Asuncion, newly assigned personnel may wish to pay a nominal extra charge to have tickets written to a point farther south, with the open extra leg good for up to 1 year after arrival at post. Asuncion is classified as a hardship post, with authorized R&R travel to Miami.

Entertainment Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:44 AM

Commercial entertainment in Asuncion consists of films, plays, concerts, discos, a hotel gambling casino, karaoke bars, and hotels and restaurants with dancing and/or floorshows.

Asuncion has several movie theaters that offer a fair selection of American and foreign films (mostly double features), including older action films and juvenile favorites. Shopping del Sol, Villa Mora Shopping Center, Excelsior Shopping Center, the Hiperseis Shopping Center and Multiplaza Shopping Center all have modern movie theaters showing relatively new movies.

Modern and classical plays are presented (in Spanish or Guarani) at the Arlequin Teatro. The Centro Cultural Paraguayo-Americano (which boasts the best theater in town) and the cultural centers of other foreign missions also present plays and host film presentations, gallery shows, and concerts by musicians from their respective countries. Argentine, Uruguayan, and American professional groups bring occasional theater or music to Asuncion.

Entertainment at clubs and restaurants is principally local talent, with folkloric presentations such as the guarani, the polka, and the bottle dance performed regularly. Asuncion has a variety of good restaurants, many of which offer ethnic menus such as Brazilian, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Korean, and Lebanese.

Local festivals, all comparatively low-key and subdued, include a pre-Lenten carnival and the Festival of St. John's Eve featuring demonstrations of faith or bravado by people walking barefoot on hot coals. Most towns have processions on their patron saint's name day, and festivals in artisan towns near Asuncion are held during the winter tourist season. Photography is unrestricted at these events. Paraguayans are generally quite willing to have their pictures taken, although Indians expect to receive a tip or may set a price.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:45 AM Since housing is generally good, personnel enjoy entertaining in their homes. Most dwellings have patios, barbecues, and/or swimming pools, which are pleasant in warm weather.

Some years ago, American women organized a club known as Las Amigas Norteamericanas del Paraguay. Among its social activities are monthly meetings, visits to nearby places of interest, handicraft work, coffees, and luncheons. Its charitable activities include welfare work, participation in fundraising projects of other organizations, and an annual fair.

The Marines occasionally host get-togethers or special events to raise money for their annual ball. Also, a Mission group has been organized at post that hosts fundraising and social events. Outdoor activities include camping trips and hikes.

International Contacts Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:46 AM Most opportunities to meet Paraguayans arise through business contacts and at official social functions. Paraguayans are generally well-disposed toward Americans, and informal acquaintances can easily be made with coworkers, neighbors, and at school events. As with many Latin societies, however, social life centers on the family and contact with outsiders is somewhat limited. The diplomatic corps is quite active socially and a number of women's groups regularly sponsor benefit dinner dances for fundraising purposes.

Church or cultural center activities, where shared interests form a common bond, provide some opportunities for meeting Paraguayans and other foreigners. Several business clubs, including Lions and Rotary, exist throughout the country. Charitable groups in which Americans participate besides Las Amigas and missionary organizations include: Damas Diplomaticas, a group of women from the diplomatic community who meet socially to raise money for charity; the International Women's group organizes different activities including visits to cultural centers and talks on diverse subjects; and the Red Cross, whose activities include sewing and conducting charity sales. The American School PTA sponsors various activities and events. The Damas Britanicas annual Caledonian Ball is popular with many Americans.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:47 AM

Senior diplomatic personnel can expect to receive invitations to attend official events, such as third country National Day receptions and other official functions, fairly frequently. The Ambassador may also, on occasion, ask other Mission officers to attend official functions as his representative when he is not able to attend. Mission officers will also periodically be invited to attend representational functions hosted by the Ambassador at the Official Residence.

The nature of the functions to which senior Mission officers will be invited will vary considerably and will likely include events such as mid-day and evening official receptions, working breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Since Paraguayans are very friendly and tend to be rather informal, Mission officers are also likely to receive invitations to attend more informal events, such as asados (barbecues), at the homes of their Paraguayan contacts and friends. Paraguay also has a fairly active cultural life, so Mission members in general will have plenty of opportunities to attend concerts, art exhibits, ballets, book launchings, conferences and seminars, etc.

Women will have infrequent need for long, formal gowns. For representational occasions, short cocktail dresses or suits are usually worn. Men with representational responsibilities will need formal attire only a few times a year (tuxedo in winter, white dinner jacket in summer). Dinner jackets can be rented but prices are high. At most official events, dark business suits are appropriate.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:51 AM

As at all posts, personnel invited to official functions sponsored by the Ambassador and other high-level U.S. officials should make every attempt to assist their hosts in any way possible. This includes: arriving approximately 15 minutes early to all official events; making sure that all Paraguayan guests are graciously received and feel welcome at all times; checking with their hosts if they can provide any specific assistance; helping to keep the guests flowing into the less populated areas of the room (when the reception area gets over-crowded); not leaving until all non-Mission guests have departed (unless permission to depart early has been granted by the host).

As mentioned above, Paraguayans are very friendly and, while they tend to be rather informal, courteous behavior is highly valued and particularly expected of the members of the Diplomatic Corps. Small courtesies, such as sending flowers when invited to people´s homes for the first time, or whenever one is the guest of honor, are most appreciated. One well-known Paraguayan idiosyncrasy is the tendency Paraguayans have to arrive late. However, it is a proven case that the one exception to this seems to be for events held at the Ambassador’s Residence. In fact, Paraguayan guests invited to the Residence often tend to arrive up to 20 minutes early.

Senior officials should bring calling or business cards, which are often exchanged with official and business contacts. Business cards are widely used by Paraguayans. Mr. and Mrs. or individual note cards are also useful for informal invitations, notes, etc. Cards and invitations in Spanish can be printed locally.

Special Information Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:52 AM

Post Oriention Program

On arrival in Asuncion, you will receive an individual briefings and a Welcome Kit containing useful information about getting settled in Paraguay. The Embassy periodically conducts a formal orientation program for new arrivals of all agencies. The CLO coordinates a Mission sponsor program and provides ongoing orientation and assistance to newcomers.

Information and services on unofficial matters are available to all U.S. Government employees and their eligible family members through CLO. Pre arrival information can be obtained by writing to: Community Liaison Office Coordinator, Unit 4719, APO AA 34036.

U.S. Government-sponsored, Spanish-language classes are open to official personnel and their adult eligible family members. The Foreign Service Institute's programmatic system is used.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

Travel time by air from the east coast to Asuncion is about 12 hours. American Airlines flies from New York, WashTravel time by air from the east coast to Asuncion is about 12 hours. American Airlines flies from New York, Washington, D.C Dulles, and Miami to Asuncion through Sao Paulo. Since delays are common, allow for adequate transit time where travel involves changes from one flight to another. On arrival in Asuncion, personnel are met at the airport and assisted through customs. Taxis are also available. The airport is about 8 miles from the Embassy, a 15-minute drive.

Ship travel from U.S. ports to Buenos Aires does not have regular service. From Buenos Aires, passengers for Asuncion can continue by plane or bus; however, air travel is more practical.

For entry into Paraguay by road, personnel need all essential vehicle documents such as ownership and registration, certified in the form of a vehicle transit pass (Libreta de Paso) obtained from the automobile club of the country from which entry into Paraguay is made. Upon arrival in Asuncion, the Embassy follows the same procedures for importing vehicles as for vehicles that arrive unaccompanied.

Personnel planning stopovers en route should be sure they meet any visa requirements. Note different weather conditions in wardrobe planning. Weather in Buenos Aires is similar to Asuncion's, except cooler. Rio de Janeiro is comfortable-to-hot. Travelers without Brazilian or Peruvian visas are not allowed out of the airport even if they have missed their connection. Peru requires visas in diplomatic and official passports, not in tourist passports.

Unaccompanied air baggage may take 6-8 weeks to arrive and be cleared in Asuncion. Include all essential items in your accompanied luggage.

All HHE shipments arrive by surface from Miami. Personnel wishing to ship their effects to post should contact the Miami Despatch Agent to assure that proper shipping instructions have been given.

Coordinate shipping a car to post with USDA Miami before shipment to Asuncion. Remove all nonessential items. These would include items such as antenna, hubcaps, ashtray, lighter, radio, jacks, tools, brand markings, and insignia. Customs clearance of vehicles is quite lengthy and takes up to 2 months after the shipping documents are received by the General Services Office (GSO).

GSO cannot begin the clearance process for incoming shipments until it has the following documents to transmit to the Foreign Ministry: original airway bill, ocean and/or river bill of lading, packing list, and pro forma invoice (with proper visas by a Paraguayan Consulate). Therefore, forward these documents as soon as available. For automobiles being shipped, advise GSO of the make, model, color, serial or motor number, and number of cylinders and provide a copy of the bill of sale.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:54 AM

Free-entry privileges are accorded all U.S. Government employees. Free entry is allowed for HHE, unaccompanied baggage, personal effects, foodstuffs, alcoholic beverages, and one car for each family. The Ambassador is authorized two vehicles every 3 years.

No limits exist on the number of shipments or types of effects (except automobiles) initially imported. After expiration of the 180-day free-entry period, however, a quota is imposed on the total dollar value of imports brought in during a calendar year by diplomatic staff. Staff personnel are not granted a quota, but have not experienced problems with importation of goods during their tour. No employee has ever exceeded the allowable amount, renewable in its full annual value each year. Paraguay has no currency restrictions.

Passage Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:55 AM

All U.S. citizens traveling to Paraguay are now required to have visas. Airport and border visas are not available at this time. Please contact the Paraguayan Embassy or closest Consulate for more information, especially if you require a multiple entry visa. A small airport exit tax is charged to those traveling out of the country. Officials presenting diplomatic carnets are exempted from this tax.

Pets Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

All types of pets may be imported. A USDA veterinary certificate of good health and certificate of inoculation against rabies (at least 15 days prior to travel) are the only required documents. These documents must be certified by the Authentication Office in the Department of State (Plaza SA-1), where a form will be provided to be completed by a USDA veterinarian. No one is located in Washington, D.C., but a USDA Office is in Hyattsville, MD, or Richmond, VA. Once the form is completed by USDA, take it back to the Authentication Office where you will receive a legal document that must be duly visaed by the Paraguayan Consulate. If you are staying overnight or transiting along the way before reaching Asuncion, permission to have your pet enter that country will be needed. All pets may be exported as well, except birds and wild animals indigenous to Paraguay. Pets purchased locally should be inoculated against distemper and rabies every 6 months.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 6/30/2000 6:00 PM

The Paraguayan Government imposes no restrictions on the importation of firearms by diplomatic mission personnel. The Chief of Mission has determined, however, that only a combined total of four firearms may be brought to post as part of an employees HHE. These are: revolvers, pistols (semiautomatic), shotguns up to 10-gauge, and rifles up to .30 caliber. Ammunition for the above-listed firearms may not exceed a total of 1,000 rounds. (See Touring and Outdoor Activities section on Hunting in this report for more information on ammunition.)

Anyone planning to import firearms and ammunition should first contact post to ascertain whether there have been any changes in limitations and procedures. When shipping arrangements have been made, provide the GSO with complete information as to type, amount, and means of shipment of firearms and ammunition since prior approval from post is required. All firearms must be registered in country with the local government. The Security Office will assist in the registration process.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:57 AM

The monetary unit of Paraguay is the Guarani and can be purchased with dollar instruments in the fluctuating free market through licensed banks and exchange houses. The rate of exchange (ROE) is about US$1=G5,870 (August 2004). Currently, only one U.S. bank remains active in Paraguay and that is Citibank N.A. Paraguay officially uses the metric system of weights and measures.


Local checking and/or savings accounts are not necessary. U.S. employees should maintain a dollar checking account in a U.S. banking institution, and should arrange for direct deposits of salaries before arriving at post. Post processes all reimbursements and payments electronically directly into the employee's U.S. accounts. Few employees maintain a local account due to the high commissions and lengthy delays for check clearances. Post retains a local Bank (Citibank as of August 2004) on the Chancery grounds which provides free check cashing, accommodation exchange, and other banking services for Embassy and TDY staff.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:58 AM

These book titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications. Abou, Sélim. Jesuit Republic of the Guaranís (1609-1768) and Its Heritage. Crossroad Pub. Co.: New York, 1997. In America, the Jesuit method consisted in regrouping natives into relatively autonomous villages that easily lent themselves to teaching and evangelization. Within this system, the 30 “reductions” of the Jesuit Province of Paraguay, all built and inhabited by the Guaranís, stand out. Thanks to the innate dispositions of these Indians, to their spiritual and cultural affinities with the Jesuits, to actions on the part of the latter that were both prudent and audacious, what is known as the “Jesuit Republic of the Guaranís” existed for 150 years (1609-1768). It was the theater of a human and religious experience without parallel, where the Indians were allowed to attain the status of free citizens, in all respects equal to the Spaniards and in many ways culturally superior to them. American University. Area Handbook for Paraguay. U.S. Government Printing Office: Washington, D.C., 1990. Arnold, Adlai F. Foundations of an Agricultural Policy in Paraguay. Praeger: 1971. Attenborough, David. The Zoo Quest Expeditions. Penguin Books: New York, 1982. This paperback re-edition of three of Attenborough's books includes his Zoo Quest in Paraguay. Anecdotes about filming and collecting animals. Barrett, William E. Women on Horseback: The Story of Francisco S. Lopez and Elisa Lynch. Doubleday: Garden City, 1969. A novel about Francisco Solano Lopez and the famous Madame Lynch. Brodsky, Ayln. Madame Lynch and Friend. Harper & Row: New York, 1975. A biographical account of the lives of Irish adventurer Elisa Lynch and Francisco Lopez. Durrell, Gerald. The Drunken Forest. Rupert Hart-Davis: London, 1956. Amusing account of animal collecting in Argentina and the Paraguayan Chaco Region. Fretz, Joseph Winfield. Immigrant Group Settlements in Paraguay. Bethel College Press: North Newton, Kansas, 1962. Fretz, Joseph Winfield. Pilgrims in Paraguay. Bethel College Press: North Newton, Kansas, 1953. Both are studies of colonization by Mennonite and other immigrant groups, mainly European and Asiatic in Paraguay by an American Mennonite scholar. Frings, Paul. Paracuaria: Art Treasures of the Jesuit Republic of Paraguay. Matthias-Gronewald-Verlag: Mainz, Germany, 1982. This book, with texts in English, Spanish, and German, contains information about the Jesuit ruins in Paraguay and efforts to restore the ruins. Includes background information on the Jesuit republic and photographs of the art works. Garner, William. The Chaco Dispute: A Study of Prestige Diplomacy. Public Affairs Press: Washington, D.C., 1966. The only English-language diplomatic history of the Chaco War. (1928-1938). Greene, Graham. The Honorary Consul. Simon & Schuster: New York, 1973. (Also available in paperback from Pocket Books, a subsidiary of Simon & Schuster.) A popular novel about a British Honorary Consul who is mistaken for an American Ambassador and is abducted and held by Paraguayan revolutionaries. Greene, Graham. Travels With My Aunt. Bantam Books: New York, 1971. In this comic novel, Henry and his aunt Augusta travel to Paraguay. Hay, James Eston, Tobati: Tradicion y cambio en un pueblo paraguayo. CERI/Universidad Catolica, Pilar: Asuncion, 1999. An analysis of the change and development of a small Paraguayan town, Tobati. [This book should be available in English by 2002. English language copies may be obtained at research libraries, through University Microfilms or through Inter-Library Loan: Hay, James Eston, Tobati: Tradition and Change in a Paraguayan Town. Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Florida, 1993.] Kolinski, Charles J. Independence or Death. University of Florida Press: Gainesville, Florida, 1965. A history of the War of the Triple Alliance, 1865-70. Lambert, Peter and Nickson, Andrew, Eds. The Transition to Democracy in Paraguay. St. Martin's Press, Inc.: New York, NY, 1997. The most up-to-date assessment of Paraguay after the transition from the Stroessner dictatorship. Lewis, Paul. Socialism, Liberalism, and Dictatorship in Paraguay. Praeger: New York, 1982. This book places General Stroessner and his regime into the context of Paraguay's political culture. It deals with the struggles between Liberals and those who represented an indigenous socialism, shows how Stroessner rose to power, and describes his regime's structure and organizational support. Stroessner's policies with respect to economic development and foreign affairs are described and the state of the opposition under Stroessner is discussed. Lewis, Paul H. Paraguay Under Stroessner. The University of North Carolina Press: Chapel Hill, 1980. A political biography of the President of Paraguay that is rich in historical background and anecdotal detail. An excellent and educational book on contemporary politics of Paraguay. McNaspy, C. J. Lost Cities of Paraguay: Art and Architecture of the Jesuit Reductions, 1607-1767. Loyola University Press: Chicago, 1982. Gives an account of the Jesuit Reductions (missions) and describes sites in Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The best book in English to date on this subject. Miranda, Carlos R. The Stroessner Era: Authoritarian Rule in Paraguay. Westview: Boulder, 1990. The author describes the political culture of, and the history of authoritarianism, in Paraguay before embarking on an in-depth study of the ideological bases of the Stroessner era, the politics of control of the Stroessner regime, and economic development and the pattern of co-optation during his dictatorship. He also examines the reasons for the demise of the Stroessner regime. Pendle, George. Paraguay, A Riverside Nation. Third Edition, Royal Institute of International Affairs: 1967. This short volume reads like an extended encyclopedia article. Recommended as the best single book dealing with the historical, economic, and sociological aspects of Paraguayan life. Includes a comprehensive annotated bibliography. Raine, Philip. Paraguay. Scarecrow Press: New Brunswick, New Jersey, 1956. An informative, comprehensive treatment by a U.S. Foreign Service officer. Sergice, Elman R. and Helen S. Tobati. A Paraguayan Town. University of Chicago Press: Chicago, 1954. A detailed study of life in a representative rural town. Warren, Harris G. Paraguay, An Informal History. University of Oklahoma Press: 1949. Probably the best book in English for a historical overall view of the country. Stover, Richard. Six Silver Moonbeams: The Life and times of Agust¡n Barrios Mangor‚. Querico Pubs.: Clovis, CA , 1992. This book is a comprehensive and authoritative biography of the world's greatest guitarist/composer, Agustin Pio Barrios (1885-1944), also known as Nitsuga Mangor‚. This extensive treatment of Barrios' life and music brings to light many facts about the amazing "Paganini of the guitar from the jungles of Paraguay." Paraguay and the Triple Alliance: The Post-war Decade, 1869-1878. University of Texas Press: Austin, Texas, 1978. A well-written, well-researched study of the years after Paraguay's disastrous war with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Warren, Harris Gaylord. Rebirth of the Paraguayan Republic: The First Colorado Era, 1878-1904. University of Pittsburgh Press: Pittsburgh, 1985. Warren writes a comprehensive history of Paraguay, based primarily on archival sources, from the watershed years of 1869-1870 to the Colorado defeat in 1904. In the first decade of this 35-year span, Paraguayans gradually recovered basic national bearings, struggled with outstanding success against the machinations of Argentina and Brazil, adopted a liberal constitution, and entered actively on the way to laissez-faire capitalism under guidance of the emerging Colorado Party. Reborn under Colorado guidance, the Paraguayan Republic was greatly changed from the Paraguay of the three dictators who ruled from 1815 to 1869-1870. Washburn, Charles A. The History of Paraguay. Two volumes, 1871. An interesting autobiographical and historical account by an American diplomat in Paraguay at the time of the War of the Triple Alliance. Whigham, Thomas. The Politics of River Trade, Tradition and Development in The Upper Plata, 1780-1870. University of New Mexico Press: 1991. White, Edward Lucas. El Supremo. Durron: New York, 1934. A good historical novel of Paraguay under Dr. de Francia. White, Richard Alan. Paraguay's Autonomous Revolution: 1810-1840. University of New Mexico Press: Albuquerque, 1978. A new look at the revolution carried out by Dr. de Francia following independence. Williams, John Hoyt. The Rise and Fall of the Paraguayan Republic, 1800-1870. University of Texas Press: Austin, Texas, 1979. Examines this critical period of Paraguayan history as a period rather than a study of personalities. Zook, David H., Jr. The Conduct of the Chaco War. Bookman Associates: New Haven, Connecticut, 1960. An interesting, in-depth treatment of this little-understood war from a politico-military viewpoint. Newcomers will find the 200-page booklet Land of Lace and Legend, An Informal Guide to Paraguay, compiled by Las Amigas Norteamericanas del Paraguay, 1977, extremely helpful. It describes many features of life in Paraguay and is included in Overseas Briefing Center materials. Other miscellaneous reading material, videocassettes, photographs, and a set of slides are also available at the Overseas Briefing Center.

The following Internet sites are a few of many with information on Paraguay:

Local Holidays Last Updated: 8/16/2004 11:59 AM

The Embassy observes all official U.S. holidays. In addition, the following officially designated Paraguayan holidays are observed by American personnel:

Heroes Day March 1 Holy Thursday Varies Good Friday Varies Labor Day May 1 Independence Day May 15 Chaco Armistice June 12 Founding of the City of Asuncion August 15 Victory at Boqueron September 29 Virgin of Caacupe December 8

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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