Rivarola, Cirilo Antonio (1836–1879)

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Rivarola, Cirilo Antonio (1836–1879)

Cirilo Antonio Rivarola (b. 1836; d. 31 December 1879), Paraguayan president (1870–1871). Born into a distinguished elite family, Rivarola began his career as an attorney in Asunción in the period just before the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870). He soon ran afoul of the autocratic regime of Francisco Solano López for daring to advocate liberal reform, and was briefly imprisoned. Early in the war, López had him sent to the front as a sergeant. Rivarola acquitted himself well in battle, but after his capture by the Allies in 1869, he cooperated with his captors, who discovered in him the perfect puppet.

With Carlos Loizaga and José Díaz de Bedoya, Rivarola was named to preside over a provisional administration in Asunción that favored Brazilian interests. This government abolished slavery, fostered freedom of the press, arranged for loans from Britain, and held a convention in 1870 to establish a new constitution. By then, Rivarola's two colleagues had resigned, and he stayed on as president. His base of popular support, however, was extremely weak, and he antagonized many of the politicians around him. He went so far as to close Congress in October 1870. A year later his congressional opponents forced him to step down in favor of his vice president, Salvador Jovellanos.

Over the next seven years, Rivarola figured in many political intrigues in a vain effort to recapture the presidential sash (and with it, he hoped, the support of Brazil's minister in Asunción). He continued to be involved in various conspiracies after the Brazilian army evacuated Paraguay in 1876, which brought him still more enemies. He was assassinated on the street in Asunción, in full view of many passersby.

See alsoLópez, Francisco Solano .


Harris Gaylord Warren, Paraguay and the Triple Alliance: The Postwar Decade, 1869–1878 (1978), and Rebirth of the Paraguayan Republic: The First Colorado Era, 1878–1904 (1985).

Carlos Zubizarreta, Cien vidas paraguayas, 2d ed. (1985).

Additional Bibliography

Lewis, Paul H. Political Parties and Generations in Paraguay's Liberal Era, 1869–1940. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.

                                     Thomas L. Whigham

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