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
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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,
Show the APO address on all correspondence as follows:
Name: U.S. Embassy-Asuncion Organization or Agency Unit No. APO
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 http://www.ultimahora.com.py ABC Color at http://www.abc.com.py
La Nacion at http://www.lanacionlcom.py Noticias El Diario at
http://www.diarionoticias.com.py 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
II. Environment Strategic Objective: Improved Management of an
Expanded Protected Areas System. · IDEA · DESDECHACO · Conservation
of Biological Diversity-World Wildlife Fund and The Nature
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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 NETGROCER.com.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Phone: (595) (21) 600-479/663-678/603-518 Fax: (595) (21) 603-518
School Street Address: Av. España 1175 esquina
P.O. Box 10093
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
David Warken, Elementary Principal: email@example.com
Chris Akin, High School Principal: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or
Bea Davia, Academic Director: email@example.com
Kristen Lugo, Elementary Principal: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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