The Economist: Dictator Not All Bad; He Paid For the Teenage Girls He Took

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In its obituary of former Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, The Economist acknowledges the torture, “disappearances” and other human rights violations that were rampant under his rule. But The Economist also thinks the dictator had his redeeming features, writing:

There was some resistance. The Catholic church got restive, especially when the general ignored calls for land reform from the indigenous poor. The Americans, fed up at last with his wiliness and his human-rights abuses, began to part company with him in the late 1970s. Paraguayans as a whole, however, were much slower to be disillusioned. It was true that he treated the country as his fief, to the point of picking out teenage girls for himself when he presented school diplomas; but he paid for the girls, set them up in houses, and gave their relatives money.

I had to read this line in The Economist several times to make sure they actually wrote what they did, I was so taken aback. It seems that paying for human beings renders abduction and rape acceptable. And apparently, since the dictator was “setting them up in houses,” the teenage girls should have no cause for complaint. Like Persephone, forever doomed to time in Hades for having partaken of pomegranate while trapped in hell.

–Stephanie Farrior

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