Today, all of Paraguay is celebrating and rejoicing its 201-year old independence from Spain. The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s and stayed for nearly 300 years as it colonized the region, converted natives to Christianity and enslaved native Indian populations.
Paraguay gained independence from Spain in 1811 but not before becoming the primary site of Jesuit missions and settlements.
Paraguay is home to an estimated 6.5 million people, the majority of which are Catholic. After surviving several financial and political corruption scandals in the ‘90s the country continues to try to move away from an informal economy and have a more transparent government.
President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent the following congratulatory message to the People of Paraguay:
On behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, I am delighted to send best wishes to all Paraguayans as you celebrate the anniversary of your independence this May 15.
Paraguay and the United States are united by our common democratic values and respect for individual rights and liberties. Together, we are working to deepen democratic institutions, strengthen human rights, combat crime, and promote effective, transparent governments and judicial systems.
As you celebrate this joyous occasion, know that the United States stands with you as a partner and friend. We look forward to continuing to work closely together as partners for peace and prosperity. Tapevyaite (que disfruten este día).