The 1989 Coup D'Etat in Paraguay...

…The End of a Long Dictatorship, from Helion Books, via Casemate Books

Title:  The 1989 Coup D'Etat in Paraguay

Author: Antonio Luis Sapienza

Publisher:  Helion Books

ISBN:  978-1-911628-69-9

Number 11 in their Latin America at War series from Helion Books, and the story of the military coup in Paraguay back in 1989. As a European, I have to admit I knew little or nothing about the story before I read this book. In Europe in 1989 I suspect the collapse of the Berlin Wall focusses our memories but for peoples elsewhere there were other events closer to home which had an even greater effect on their lives.

The book tells us about the background and the personalities involved. General Alfredo Stroessner was the dictator of Paraguay from 1954, when he himself had taken power thanks to a coup in 1954. Once in power he contrived to remain in control of the country through fixed election no less than 7 times over the years. While in control, he strengthened the military and undertook a number of major infrastructure projects to publicise the benefits of his rule, but covering up the injustices inflicted on thousands of citizens. It came to a head in 1989 when he was finally overthrown in a quick, though violent, coup led by the military. Stroessner and his family were exiled to Brazil while those who took control thanks to the coup did lead relatively quickly to new elections and a return to democracy in the country.

As well as an interesting story, it is accompanied by a number of archive photos that illustrate the story, along with maps and 6 pages of colour profile artworks showing Army, Navy and Air Force equipment of the period. For modellers, some interesting and rather different camouflage and marking options from a mix of WW2 and more modern equipment that was in service at the time. From more modern aircraft and helicopters, the AFVs included the US built Stuart light tank, M3 half-tracks and even Sherman Firefly's. Another interesting addition to the series.

Distributed by Casemate Books, who kindly provided my review copy.