Eusebio Ayala

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Eusebio Ayala
President of Paraguay
In office
November 7, 1921 – April 12, 1923
Preceded by Manuel Gondra
Succeeded by Eligio Ayala
President of Paraguay
In office
August 15, 1932 – February 17, 1936
Preceded by José Patricio Guggiari
Succeeded by Rafael Franco
Personal details
Born (1875-08-14)August 14, 1875
Barrero Grande
Died June 4, 1942(1942-06-04) (aged 66)
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nationality Paraguayan
Political party Liberal
Spouse(s) Marcelle Durand
Alma mater National College of Asunción

Eusebio Ayala (August 14, 1875 – June 4, 1942) was President of Paraguay from 7 November 1921 to 12 April 1923 and again from 15 August 1932 to 17 February 1936. He was a member of the Liberal Party. He was overthrown by Rafael Franco.

His Life[edit]

Born in Barrero Guasu (Barrero Grande), Cordillera Department, Paraguay, on August 14, 1875. His parents were Abdón Bordenave and Casimira Ayala, an illiterate teenage girl aged 19, that had endured the hardships of the resident Paraguayan women. He was Juana Concepcion’s father’s brother, Enrique Bordenave, Rosa Elena and Maria Bordenave.[clarification needed] He was married to the French Marcelle Durand, with whom he had a son called Roger Ayala Durand.

Eusebio Ayala comes from a very humble family from his mother’s side.

His first education in school were acquired in his hometown, with his aunt Benita. Then he moved to the country's capital, Asuncion, where he worked as a trainee in a shop, thanks to his own effort, and later he was able to enter the National College of Asunción and received his bachelor in 1896.

Exercising the title of Expert in Business, Ayala taught classes in schools, through which he could afford his expenses at the College of Law, National University, where he graduated as Doctor of Social Science and Law in 1904, defending a thesis on the national budget.

After completing his university education, he made several trips to Europe. The first was as secretary of the embassy of Great Britain for three years, time that he came to master English and French, and also improve his philosophical and cultural training.

It was in one of those trips where he met the person who would be his future wife, Madame Marcelle Amelia Durand. She was born in Tours, France, January 16, 1889. She got married at very young age with a Parisian jeweler, but he suffered from a mental problem that drove him to suicide, leaving Marcelle a widow and without offspring.

After the incident, she continued living in Paris, where she met Eusebio Ayala. Marcelle lived until his last days in Paraguay, as a sample of great love and respect she had for him. Marcelle Ayala died in Asuncion on April 20, 1954. Her years close to the statesman were recorded in his book "Memories".

His career[edit]

Upon his return to Paraguay, he taught classes of Criminal Law and Constitutional Law at the Faculty of Law and he became Rector of the University of Asuncion.

As a journalist he worked at “El Diario” and “El Liberal”, and later he was editor of the Journal of Law and Social Sciences. Jose P. Guggiari appointed him ambassador to the United States. He was reminded, as the only Paraguayan of that era who gave a lecture in The Sorbonne, Paris, on the uti possidetis (the thing possessed) in a clear and correct French. Fruit of his research in finance, he wrote a book which he called "Monetary issues and related topics" in 1917.

Ayala died in Buenos Aires on June 4, 1942. To commemorate him the old San Lorenzo street and his hometown in Paraguay were renamed after him, on June 17, 1942.

His government[edit]

See also: Chaco War

Following the resignation of President Manuel Gondra, as a result of a political crisis and the impossibility of forming a government by Vice President Félix Paiva, the National Congress named him temporary president on November 7, 1921, a position he served until April 12, 1923, at extremely difficult times for the country. It had to rule in the lawless days of the revolution in 1922/23.

The second government, between August 15, 1932 and February 17, 1936, was not better either, because he had run the government when the Chaco War with Bolivia had begun in (1932–1935). Dr. Ayala visited the battlefront several times during the war and he won the title "President of Victory."

Although the war consumed all the energy of the Government, some works were undertaken, such as including the formalization of the restored version of the National Anthem, among other things. During the war, he held the three main pillars of his policy: As Command in Chief, along with General José Félix Estigarribia, he led successful campaigns of the Army; implemented a progressive system of expenses, and maintained a diplomatic directive with the strong desire to achieve peace with dignity.

He was overthrown after the war and a few months before finishing his presidential term by a military movement on February 17, 1936. He was imprisoned and exiled from the country, relocating to Buenos Aires.

Political biography[edit]

In his long political career he was legal adviser to major corporations, deputy, senator, minister of Finance, Justice, Worship and Education and Foreign Affairs.

He joined the Liberal Party in 1908 and campaigned in the "radical" sector. During the presidency of Emiliano González Navero, in 1909, he was appointed chancellor, a position he also held in following governments. He was also one of the founders of the Paraguayan Society of International Law and became a delegate of the International Financial Conference, held in Buenos Aires in 1916.

The exile and his later years[edit]

Accompanied by General Estigarribia, Dr. Eusebio Ayala, left Paraguay on September 5, 1936, to Buenos Aires, where his wife and a reception with all the honors were waiting for him. He started his activities for the year 1938. He joined a major law firm in Buenos Aires, and led the Argentine – Paraguayan Chamber. He also wrote for “La Razon”, a local newspaper. His son, Roger, had finished his studies and lived with his parents. Ayala returned to Asuncion to do some work business, and took advantage of this opportunity to visit his sister.

On September 28, 1992, the remains of Eusebio Ayala arrived on a special flight at Silvio Pettirossi international airport from Buenos Aires. A vehicle of the Army transported the urn until the “Palacio de Lopez”, under the greeting of the Paraguayan flags. On September 29, 1992, the remains of Dr. Eusebio Ayala finally rested in his country, in the National Pantheon of the Heroes of Asuncion.


  • Publications at the newspaper ABC Color.
Political offices
Preceded by
Manuel Gondra
President of Paraguay
Succeeded by
Eligio Ayala
Preceded by
José Patricio Guggiari
President of Paraguay
Succeeded by
Rafael Franco