Higinio Moríñigo

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Higinio Morínigo
Morínigo and Roosevelt.jpg
Higinio Morínigo (right) and Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House, June 9, 1943.
President of Paraguay
In office
September 7, 1940 – June 3, 1948
Preceded by José Félix Estigarribia
Succeeded by Juan Manuel Frutos
Minister of War and Navy of Paraguay
In office
May 17, 1940 – September 7, 1940
Preceded by Eduardo Torreani Viera
Succeeded by Paulino Ántola
Minister of the Interior of Paraguay
In office
January 25, 1939 – August 15, 1939
Preceded by Arturo Bray
Succeeded by Nicolás Delgado
Personal details
Born Higinio Morínigo Martínez
January 11, 1897
Paraguarí, Paraguay Paraguay
Died January 27, 1983(1983-01-27) (aged 86)
Asunción, Paraguay Paraguay
Nationality Paraguayan
Political party None
Spouse(s) Dolores Ferrari (1932–1983)
Children Higinio Emilio, Juan Alberto, Guillermo Gerardo

General Higinio Morínigo Martínez (January 11, 1897 – January 27, 1983[1]) was a Paraguayan dictator, general and political figure. He served as the President of Paraguay from September 7, 1940 to June 3, 1948.

Morínigo was born in Paraguarí, Paraguay in 1897, the son of a merchant. Little is known of his early life, though he served in the Army in the Chaco War and was appointed Army Chief of Staff in 1936. Of European and Guaraní descent, He was fluent in both the Spanish and Guaraní languages. Franco's successor, José Félix Estigarribia of the Liberal Party, appointed Morínigo as his Minister of War on May 2, 1940. Four months later, President Estigarribia was killed in an airplane crash on September 7, 1940, and the cabinet selected General Morínigo to serve as President for two months until elections could be held.[2]

On September 30, the Liberal Party ministers in his cabinet resigned, and on October 16, Morínigo announced that the presidential elections would be postponed for two years. Soon afterward, he announced a policy of "disciplina, jerarquia, y orden" (discipline, hierarchy, and order) and stated that persons who spread subversive ideas would be "subject to confinement".[3] On November 30, he announced in a noontime radio address that "The people and the Army, from this moment, will be under a single command." All political parties were banned. Morínigo organized the Guion Rojo (the "Red Banner") as a state police force to control dissent from the Febreristas and the Liberals, and exiled opposition newspaper publishers.[4] The elections took place as promised on February 15, 1943. However, Morínigo was the sole candidate on the ballot.

Morínigo's absolute rule lasted until June 9, 1946, when he formed a cabinet with the Revolutionary Febrerista Party and the Colorado Party. During his dictatorship, Morínigo faced widespread resistance, including general strikes, but he survived by maintaining the loyalty of the Paraguayan Army, which received 45% of the country's budget.

Feeling that Morínigo was favouring the Colorados, the Febreristas resigned and made common cause with the Liberal Party and the Communist Party of Paraguay in the Paraguayan Civil War of 1947. Although large sections of the military defected to the rebels, Morínigo regained control of the country by the end of the year, with the assistance of grass-root militias organized by the Colorados. For the next 15 years, the Colorados were the only legal party in Paraguay.

Morínigo permitted a presidential election in 1948, and on February 15 of that year, Colorado Party candidate Juan Natalicio González was elected as the only candidate on the ballot. Morínigo's term was to expire on August 15, but revolution was threatened by groups dissatisfied with González. The Paraguayan Army deposed Morínigo on June 3, about two months ahead of schedule. Supreme Court Chief Justice Juan Manuel Frutos was sworn in as interim president, serving until González was inaugurated on August 15, 1948.[5]


  1. ^ "TESTIMONIOS DE UN PRESIDENTE – ENTREVISTA AL GRAL. HIGINIO MORÍNIGO," by Augusto Ocampos Caballero. Retrieved October 29, 2014.
  2. ^ Current Biography 1941, pp608-10
  3. ^ Id. at 609
  4. ^ Richard B. Baldauf and Robert B. Kaplan, Language Planning and Policy in Latin America, p249 (Multilingual Matters, 2007)
  5. ^ "Paraguay President Deposed by Army," El Paso Herald-Post, June 3, 1948, p1
Preceded by
José Félix Estigarribia
President of Paraguay
Succeeded by
Juan Manuel Frutos