Ynsfrán, Edgar L. (1920–1991)

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Ynsfrán, Edgar L. (1920–1991)

Edgar L. Ynsfrán (b. 1920; d. 1991), Paraguayan politician. When General Alfredo Stroessner seized power in 1954, he needed competent allies to give his regime a veneer of legitimacy and respectability. In this effort it was natural that he would turn to Edgar L. Ynsfrán, a talented young intellectual who had made a name for himself in Colorado Party circles ever since the 1947 civil war. A protégé of the right-wing former president Juan Natalicio González, Ynsfrán was a lawyer by training. He had already served as a Colorado deputy, police official, and member of the Junta de Gobierno. He was also a much read essayist, an indefatigable worker, and a shrewd party organizer. Most important of all, he was willing to act as Stroessner's agent in political matters.

The general made Ynsfrán his interior minister in the mid-1950s at precisely the time when the democratic opposition—as well as the left-leaning guerrilla groups—were actively seeking the dictator's ouster. Ynsfrán took energetically to combating these threats. Though he gave the impression of being a tranquil, austere scholar, in fact he filled Paraguay's jails with hundreds of political prisoners, many of whom were tortured.

By the mid-1960s, Ynsfrán's repressive apparatus had destroyed nearly all of Stroessner's enemies in the country. The very success of his campaign, however, gave Ynsfrán a measure of power uncomfortably close to that of the president himself. Not wishing to place too much temptation before his minister's eyes, Stroessner abruptly dropped Ynsfrán from the cabinet in 1966. Thereafter the former interior minister devoted himself to business matters and to the building of a magnificent library of Paraguayan books, documents, and memorabilia, much of which was donated to the nation just before his death. In the last two years of his life, he attempted a political comeback, but his unsavory past prevented him from making much headway, even within his own Colorado Party.

See alsoParaguay, Political Parties: Colorado Party; Stroessner, Alfredo.


Edgar Ynsfrán, Tres discursos (1956), passim; Paul H. Lewis, Paraguay Under Stroessner (1980), pp. 79-99, 116-134.

Riordan Roett and Richard S. Sacks, Paraguay: The Personalist Legacy (1991), pp. 55-57.

Additional Bibliography

Lachi, Marcello, and Roberto Céspedes Ruffinelli. Insurgentes: La resistencia armada a la dictadura de Stroessner. Asunción, Paraguay: Uninorte, 2004.

Paredes, Roberto. Stroessner y el stronismo. Asunción, Paraguay: Servilibro, 2004.

                                 Thomas L. Whigham