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July 8, 2024

Paraguay’s Security Challenges and the Government Response

By R. Evan Ellis

The land-locked South American country of Paraguay receives little attention in Washington D.C. relative to its strategic importance for the region and the U.S. It is larger than Germany, and like Germany, its impact, and the nature of its challenges, begin with its central location in the continent.  That centrality gives Paraguay enormous, largely unrealized potential as a regional logistics hub, as well as a low-cost point of access to the South American Common Market (MERCOSUR), of which it is a part. 

Paraguay’s central location also means that its economy and security are closely tied to the conditions and activities of its neighbors.  Its export of agricultural products to international markets depends substantially on access to the Atlantic via the Paraguay and Parana rivers, impacted by decisions by neighboring Argentina regarding the dredging of, and tolls on the Paraná River. Its electricity and a portion of its national income derives from the Itaipu hydroelectric facility that it shares with Brazil, and secondarily, the Yacycreta facility it shares with Argentina, giving importance to the price that Paraguay receives for the surplus portion of its electricity, which it sells back to Brazil. 

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