Brazil and Paraguay: A Protectorate in the making? | Brasil y Paraguay: ¿Un protectorado en construcción?




Paraguay, brasiguayo, Itaipú


This paper questions whether we are witnessing the transformation of Paraguay into a quasi-protectorate of Brazil, masked by the retention of national sovereignty accorded by Mercosur. The paper is divided into four sections. The first gives a brief overview of the history of the bilateral relationship from independence to the 1970s. The second discusses the dramatic impact on that relationship of the construction of the Itaipú hydroelectric plant and the associated immigration of Brazilian commercial farmers to Paraguay. The third section explores the contemporary nature of various dimensions of the relationship – economic, political, social and cultural – consistent with that of a protectorate. The fourth section evaluates the nature and strength of the growing opposition to the relationship inside Paraguay. The paper concludes with reflections on the extent to which its relationship with Paraguay calls into question the ‘soft power’ global image of Brazil projected by Itamaraty.

Keywords: Paraguay; brasiguayo; Itaipú.


Este texto analiza si se está presenciando la transformación de Paraguay en una especie de protectorado de Brasil, proceso disimulado por la soberanía formal de país independiente y miembro fundador de Mercosur. El trabajo abarca cuatro secciones. La primera ofrece una breve reseña de la historia de las relaciones bilaterales desde la independencia hasta la década de 1970. La segunda analiza el dramático impacto sobre esas relaciones causado por la construcción de la planta hidroeléctrica de Itaipú y la asociada inmigración de agricultores brasileños a Paraguay. La tercera sección explora las características actuales de varias dimensiones de ese relacionamiento –económico, político, social y cultural – que son compatibles con las de un protectorado. La sección final evalúa la naturaleza y fuerza de la creciente oposición en el mismo Paraguay al nuevo relacionamiento. El estudio concluye con algunas reflexiones sobre hasta qué punto el relacionamiento con Paraguay pone en tela de juicio la imagen global de Brasil de un ‘poder blando’, difundida por Itamaraty.

Palabras Clave: Paraguay; brasiguayo; Itaipú


Received on 21 Apr. 2019 | Accepted on: 12 nov. 2019.

Biografia do Autor

Robert Andrew Nickson, International Development Department School of Government and Society

I am Honorary Reader in Public Management at the International Development Department (IDD), The University of Birmingham, England. I am currently engaged in research, consultancy and writing on international development, with special emphasis on national and local governance issues. I have extensive worldwide experience of teaching, research and consultancy on public administration reform, decentralisation, and the regulation of privatised public utilities. My most recent research has focussed on decentralisation and conflict prevention, the management of urban water supply, and the relationship between language, governance and citizen participation. I am a regular writer for several subscription-only publications, including the Economist Intelligence Unit, Oxford Analytica and IHS Sentinel. I also write an annual Politico-Social Short Analysis (PSA) for the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Since 2011 I have been external trainer for the Peace and Security Division of the United Nations System Staff College (UNSSC) in Turin, Italy, for which I teach face-to-face courses on the role of decentralisation and local governance in the peacebuilding process of post-conflict countries (Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Yemen, Bangla Desh, Ethiopia) as well as at UN HQ in New York. In 2013/14 I wrote a distance learning (DL) version of the course for the UNSSC and to date has taught 12 editions (most recently in March 2019). At the University of Birmingham from AY 2018/19 I contribute half of the sessions to a new IDD Masters module, Economics for Development Practitioners (EDP).




Como Citar

Nickson, R. A. (2019). Brazil and Paraguay: A Protectorate in the making? | Brasil y Paraguay: ¿Un protectorado en construcción?. Mural Internacional, 10, e42110.