Background: Paraguay achieved its independence from Spain in 1811. In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70) - between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay - Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. The country stagnated economically for the next half century. Following the Chaco War of 1932-35 with Bolivia, Paraguay gained a large part of the Chaco lowland region. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER ended in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, Paraguay has held relatively free and regular presidential elections since then.
Location: Central South America, northeast of Argentina, southwest of Brazil
Area land: 397,302 sq km
Area water: 9,450 sq km
Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)
Country name conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay
Country name conventional short form: Paraguay
Country name former: Republic of Paraguay
Population: 6,459,058 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 28.5% (male 936,298/female 905,285); 15-64 years: 65.4% (male 2,121,632/female 2,100,740); 65 years and over: 6.1% (male 183,440/female 211,663) (2011 est.);
Population growth rate: 1.284% (2011 est.)
Birth rate: 17.48 births/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Death rate: 4.57 deaths/1,000 population (July 2011 est.)
Net migration rate: -0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2011 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female; under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female; 15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female; 65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female; total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2011 est.);
Infant mortality rate: total: 23.02 deaths/1,000 live births; male: 26.94 deaths/1,000 live births; female: 18.91 deaths/1,000 live births (2011 est.);
Life expectancy at birth: total population: 76.19 years; male: 73.59 years; female: 78.93 years (2011 est.);
Total fertility rate: 2.11 children born/woman (2011 est.);
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate: 0.3% (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS: 13,000 (2009 est.);
HIV/AIDS - deaths: fewer than 500 (2009 est.);
Nationality: noun: Paraguayan(s); adjective: Paraguayan;
Ethnic groups: mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%, other 5%;
Religions: Roman Catholic 89.6%, Protestant 6.2%, other Christian 1.1%, other or unspecified 1.9%, none 1.1% (2002 census);
Languages: Spanish (official), Guarani (official);
Literacy: definition: age 15 and over can read and write; total population: 94%; male: 94.9%; female: 93% (2003 est.);
GDP (purchasing power parity): $33.27 billion (2010 est.); $29.06 billion (2009 est.); $30.2 billion (2008 est.);
GDP (official exchange rate): $17.17 billion (2010 est.);
GDP - real growth rate: 14.5% (2010 est.); -3.8% (2009 est.); 5.8% (2008 est.);
GDP - per capita (PPP): $4,900 (2010 est.); $4,600 (2009 est.); $4,900 (2008 est.);
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 21.8%; industry: 18.2%; services: 60.1% (2010 est.);
Population below poverty line: 18.8% (2009 est.);
Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: 1.1%; highest 10%: 42.3% (2007);
Labor force: 3.038 million (2010 est.);
Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 26.5%; industry: 18.5%; services: 55% (2008);
Unemployment rate: 5.7% (2010 est.); 6.4% (2009 est.);
Budget: revenues: $3.238 billion; expenditures: $3.402 billion (2010 est.);
Industries: sugar, cement, textiles, beverages, wood products, steel, metallurgic, electric power;
Industrial production growth rate: 6.5% (2010 est.);
Electricity - production: 53.19 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - consumption: 8.5 billion kWh (2009 est.);
Electricity - exports: 45.14 billion kWh (2007 est.);
Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2008 est.);
Statistics: CIA World Factbook.
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Mainstream media, corporations and right-wing parties have refined the new model for overthrowing popular progressive leaders.
Reflecting a growing shift to the left across Latin America, the April 20 election of Lugo put an end to the rightwing Colorado Party's six-decade-long grip on power.
The two-day Summit of the Americas in Argentina, attended by President Bush earlier this month, ended without a clear agreement on when and how to resume talks on a free trade agreement between the countries of North, Central, and South America.
Chilean President Ricardo Lagos noted that countries in the region have yet to advance fully on integrating economic policies, while Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez used the occasion to urge members to pull back from United States-style free market policies.