PARAGUAY | Overview: Small country, big hopes

Jul 1, 2014

One year after former businessman Horacio Cartes took over as president, Paraguay is in the midst of what it says is an aggressive reform agenda

A surprisingly bright festival of Brazilian and South Korean brands in the streets of Asunción contrasts with the tranquil waters of the Paraguay River, which flows through the sleepy capital city.

The landlocked country, located in the heart of South America, is looking for a new economic dawn.

High rise buildings are still few and far between in the emerging business district of Santa Teresa, and in the colonial part of the city, where most of the ministries are located. But under the new government of President Horacio Cartes, Paraguay is trying to shake off its old image as a sometimes corrupt, authoritarian and unstable Latin American country, crippled by a volatile economy.

To that purpose, the president — a billionaire businessman — is trying to build a reputation as a modernizer. He has surrounded himself with a generation of mostly young technocrats: their ambition is to clean up the...

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