Facundo Machaín

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Facundo Machaín
In office
August 31, 1870 – September 1, 1870
Preceded by Cirilo Antonio Rivarola
Succeeded by Cirilo Antonio Rivarola
Personal details
Born November 26, 1845
Asunción, Paraguay
Died October 29, 1877
Asunción, Paraguay
Nationality Paraguayan

Facundo Machaín was President of Paraguay. His period of government was short but very important for the political situation of the country at the time.

His life[edit]

Facundo Machaín Recalde was a lawyer and politician. He was born in Asunción, on November 26, 1845. He studied in Chile, in the Universidad Central where he graduated from Law School. His professor was the Argentine Andrés Bello. He had 25 years when he was elected President. His parents were José Serapio Machaín y Zavala and Clara Recalde y Machaín. He married Clara Recalde, but had no children.

He had several siblings: Esteban, León, Raymundo (who married his widow), Josefa (married with Federico Zorraquín), Francisca (married with Alberto Robinson), Emilia and Serapio Machaín. Facundo was one of the first Paraguayans who spoke in a public square to the people and managed to captivate the audience with his strong personality, his youth and culture. According to the biography written by José Segundo Decoud, Facundo had quality was a good speaker but had difficulties with writing.

He was murdered at the age of 32 in his own prison cell by the henchmen who guarded him, in the episode of the massacre in the public jail on October 29, 1877. His death caused great sadness in Paraguayan society. It was said that with it, Paraguayan writing lost a great professor.

A street in the neighborhood Mariscal Estigarribia, in Asunción, is named after Facundo.


The government of the Triumvirate had a short existence. In May 1870 one of the members resigned, José Díaz de Bedoya and on August 31, 1870 Carlos Loizaga also did the same. Because of this, Antonio Rivarola was ceased in his duties by the National Assembly. When the Assembly declared finished the government of the Triumvirate and established the provisional presidency of the republic, Machaín was designated by 37 votes against 5 to hold that position. He took on the position on August 31, 1870, he vowed that day: “I swear before God and the Country, to fulfill truthfully my duties as President and all the dispositions of the Sovereign Constituent Convention”. He was important part in the works toward the reorganization of the Republic. But only 12 hours after, a complot planned by Cirilo Antonio Rivarola, with the help of some allied forces, overthrow his government on September 1, 1870. That same night, Rivarola re-established himself in charge of the government, being legitimized by the National Assembly. His Vice-President was Cayo Miltos, who later died and was replaced by Salvador Jovellanos. This way happened the first coup in Paraguay after the war.

Studies and career[edit]

He did his first studies in Asunción, after he moved to Chile where he studied Law. He returned to the Paraguay after the Paraguayan War.

He was designated member of the Supreme Court of Justice in 1872 and, during the government of President Juan Bautista Gill, he was National Chancellor, position in which he made a brilliant job, specially in the defense of the Paraguayan rights over the Chaco territory. He was President of the “Gran Club del Pueblo” and member of the National Assembly. On August 27, the Convention designated him member of the commission in charge of writing the Constitution project, in which he intervened and stood out as the best speaker of the Assembly.

In 1876, after the War of the Triple Alliance he participated, along with the Argentine Chancellor Bernardo de Irigoyen, in the Limits Agreement, later called the Machaín-Yrigoyen Treaty.

He worked as a journalist and was professor and the first director of the Colegio Nacional de Asunción (Asunción’s National School), which building was demolished later. From that building he watched the bloody episode of the murder of President Juan Bautista Gill. When hearing the first shooting he went out to one of the balconies that opened to the Libertad Street (nowadays called Eligio Ayala) shouting: “The President is being killed”.

In 1877 he was present in the defense of the accused for the murder of President Gill. Political situations made him a victim of political passions. He was imprisoned and occupied the same cell as his defendants, among them there was Commander José Dolores Molas.


  • Los presidentes del Paraguay. Raúl Amaral
  • Manuel Franco. Un gobernante ejemplar y austero. Juan Samaniego
  • Historia de la cultura del Paraguay. Víctor Ayala Queirolo

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Cirilo Antonio Rivarola
President of Paraguay
Succeeded by
Cirilo Antonio Rivarola