Stroessner, Alfredo(älfrā`thō shtrs`nər), 1912–2006, president and dictator of Paraguay (1954–89). Of a German Paraguayan family, he was commissioned an officer (1932) and fought in the Chaco War (1932–35). Named commander in chief of the armed forces (1951), he engineered the coup (1954) that toppled Federico Chávez and became president that same year. Retaining command of the armed forces, he suppressed all opposition, and turned Paraguay into a refuge for Nazi war criminals. He was "reelected" eight consecutive times (1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988) making his rule the longest in 20th-century Latin American history. With Brazil, he built the Itaipú Dam on the Paraná River; its power plant, the world's largest hydroelectric station, dramatically increasing export revenues through the sale of electricity. Though essentially authoritarian, he gradually permitted opposition political activity. He was overthrown in a military coup (1989) and spent the rest of his life in exile in Brazil.
Born Nov. 3, 1912, in Encarnación. Paraguayan state figure.
Born of a well-to-do German settlers” family, Stroessner took up a military career. In 1948 he became a brigadier general, and in 1952 commander in chief of the armed forces of Paraguay. In 1954 he overthrew President F. Chavez in a military coup and, with the support of the army, had himself elected president. Upon taking power, Stroessner established a military and police dictatorship, which defended the interests of the reactionary local latifundistas and of the comprador bourgeoisie, as well as the interests of foreign, chiefly North American, companies. In foreign policy, Stroessner has maintained a course of rapprochement with the most reactionary regimes in Latin America and elsewhere. He was “reelected” president for the fifth time in 1973.