Ambassador from Paraguay: Who Is Fernando Pfannl?
The landlocked South American nation of Paraguay, whose legislature impeached its president last year in what many countries termed a “legal coup,” has sent a new ambassador to the U.S. to try to get relations back on a more normal footing. Officially appointed on December 26, 2012, Fernando A. Pfannl Caballero presented his credentials to President Barack Obama on January 14, 2013, succeeding Rigoberto Gauto Vielman, who had served since February 2010.
Born July 13, 1955, in the capital city of Asunción, Pfannl earned a degree in Sociology and a Certificate in Political and Social Economy at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense (formerly the University of Paris X – Nanterre).
In February 1989, when a military coup overthrew the brutal dictatorship of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, Pfannl served as a spokesman for the democratic opposition.
Pfannl went on to serve as a senator representing the Liberal Party from 1993 to 1998, serving on the Senate committees for Foreign and International Affairs; Economy, Development and Integration; Agrarian Reform; Energy, Natural Resources, Population and Sustainable Development; and on two bicameral or joint committees, on the Budget and on Investigations. He also served as chief of staff of the Municipality of Asunción from 1998 to 2001.
After the election in 2008 of left-leaning President Fernando Lugo, whose win overturned the power of the conservative Colorado Party, which had held power—including under Stroessner—for 61 years—Pfannl served as chief of staff for Vice President Federico Franco.
In 2012, conservative elements in Paraguay's government engineered what Paraguay's neighbors Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile and others, termed a coup, by impeaching Lugo and giving him only two hours to prepare a defense. Franco became president in June, naming Pfannl interim head of the Ministry of Information and Communication, an important post in the days after the coup. Franco later named Pfannl Minister of Planning and Economic and Social Development.
Pfannl speaks Spanish, French and English.
To Learn More:
Candidato a Embajador ante EE UU anunció su propuesta en el Senado (Nominee for U.S. Ambassador enunciates his views in the Senate) (La Nacion)
Caso Ricardo Canese vs. Paraguay, Cuestionario para el testigo Fernando Pfannl (Canese vs. Paraguay, Questionnaire of witness Fernando Pfannl) (pdf)
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