Paraguay The Extinction of a Dinosaur

A surprise coup topples Stroessner after a 34-year rule

Residents of sleepy Asuncion were startled when the crack of gunfire shattered a muggy summer night. Two dozen armored tanks rumbled down a residential street from the First Army Corps headquarters. For eight hours, the sounds of battle transformed several normally tranquil neighborhoods into war zones. As mutinous soldiers traded rounds with loyal government troops, bullets ricocheted wildly, felling more than 100 soldiers, pockmarking buildings and flattening tires of parked cars.

Shortly before dawn, the rebellion achieved its goal: the ouster of General Alfredo Stroessner, 76. As Stroessner was held unharmed under house arrest at an army residence, his longtime second-in-command...

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