In the autumn sunlight Asuncion hardly looked like the capital of a nation caught in the throes of civil war. Indian women and heavily laden burros carried produce to market. Men loafed in the cafes, sipping small cups of coffee and yerba mate. The seedy Palacio Lopez, where Dictator Higinio Morinigo rules with his back to the nearby muddy Paraguay River, had the easy, unguarded air of an Illinois county courthouse.

But at night, nervous irregulars fired sporadically. And almost everyone furtively read typewritten transcripts of the "Voice of Victory"—clandestine radio broadcasts of war news, either real or imagined. In what...

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