The Diary Entires of Farmer Irene Lopez and Servant Kayla Morales Edit
(This page will include different accounts from the perspective of disenfranchised peoples)
July 9, 1810
I am a simple farmer’s wife, about 36 years old, simply minding my own business. I thought that I would record the tough times of the revolution my country of Paraguay is going through in a diary. True, I do not like the Spanish, but sending our husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, lovers, our providers, to war is not worth getting rid of the Spanish. What will it change for me? How will my life be any different, other than possibly missing a husband, a brother, or a son? Maybe a little less oppression, a little bit safer on the whole, but if the men are missing, then all the women and children are much less safe because they have no one to protect them. Fortunately, the man who allows us to rent our land has not chosen a side in this conflict, so he is not another source of pressure on us to choose one or the other and send our men off to fight for liberation from Spain. I am afraid, though, that we will need to anyway. I do not care what happens because of this fight, so long as I am still permitted to make a living and keep my family safe.
I must leave now, as it is getting late and tomorrow is a new day filled with chores.
July 20, 1810
I have had so much to do and so much has happened! Apparently, Argentina has been attempting to liberate itself from Spain as well (1). I am not sure whether Paraguay is as strong as Argentina’s prosperous city Buenos Aires, but then again my opinion is not very important. If there is a new leader to be placed in the government, I hope that he pays more attention to the commoners than to the wealthy.
I will only be affected if my husband and son are to be sent away to serve in the army. I’ll have to prepare myself if such anything were to occur.
Because I don’t seem to have much time to write, I have bought a diary for my young servant, Kayla Morales. I’m sure she will love to spend her free time writing about Paraguay’s attempt to liberate itself from Spain.
Ah, I knew that entries this frequent would be too good to be true! It is time for me to go already!
July 23, 1810
My name is Kayla Morales, and I am a servant for Irene Lopez. Mrs. Lopez has gifted me a Diary so that I can record my views on the recent problems Paraguay has been facing caused by Spain.
Recent events have been hard to follow, because of rumors being made up and speculations being made about everything. I heard the craziest thing just the other day—Paraguay wants to try and gain control of more land. This is not true. Basically what is happening is because Paraguay is dependent on Buenos Aires since the late 1700’s, Argentina wants to gain full control over Paraguay(1).Paraguay has not liked the declined interest in itself as power in Buenos Aires grew(1). Paraguay is refusing to accept the independence declaration of Argentina (2).
I am not quite sure why Argentina would think that having control over Paraguay would give them more power. Controlling this province would of course give Argentina more control over land, but Paraguay isn’t all that prosperous seeing that there are not many valuable metals and all (5).
Although I value my own opinions, they are obviously no important in society seeing that I am a servant to farmers and their children. I believe that anything that will occur in the near future will have no effect on me, because my masters have promised me that will not dispatch me if anything were to happen. Thank goodness I am serving in such a gracious household.
I have to go milk the family cow, Linda, now.
October 14, 1810
I have been so busy! Mrs. Lopez has been with child for a few months now, and the household was turned upside down when she was bed ridden. The child is to be expected soon. When the child is born, Paraguay will be a new place. I hear that Argentine forces are planning to force Paraguay to accept being part of Argentina (1). What hectic times…Argentina wants Paraguay and we are under Spain control. I am sure that these countries will come to realize the people of Paraguay will fight for independence. I overheard a conversation Mr. Lopez was having with the neighbor, Mr. Santos, and their views on the revolution are exactly the same. They both think that Paraguay has the right to fight for its independence, and that Argentina will not get its hands on Paraguay. Talk of independence excites me! I wonder what new changes will occur if Paraguay decides to finally break away from Spain. Although I was promised that I will never be dispatched, I would love to follow my dream of being a baker…
I must now go, because Mr. Lopez and son are expecting dinner, the twins are screaming, and Mrs. Lopez seems to be forgetting that she is bed ridden.
January 10, 1811
I misplaced this diary shortly after the last time I wrote in it, because Mrs. Lopez’s pesky twins got to it. And, a few weeks ago Mrs. Lopez’s new baby girl was born, Angela. So busy being a servant…
Anyways, the Argentine Army has not been able to convince the province I live in to accept being part of Argentina (1). The general, Manuel Belgrano, has been trying hard, but has no luck (1). The Paraguayan militia moved General Belgrano’s army out. I am sure that the next thing Paraguay is going to want to do is seek independence from Spain(2). I overheard Mrs. Lopez’s son talking about joining the revolution with the neighbor’s son…I must not mention this to Mrs. Lopez, for she will be very upset.
May 24, 1811
Baby Angela has sure been a handful…I have had no time to write. Mrs. Lopez has had me doing so many things for the past few months. Mrs. Lopez has not been feeling so well lately. Her son ran away to join the revolution, which was just recently won this month (1). Just ten days ago, Militia Captains Pedro Juan Caballero and Fulgencio Yegros got rid of the Spanish governor (1). Paraguay is now independent! How exciting to be living in an independent Paraguay. I hope no more troublesome wars and fights occur.
November 19, 1811
Several months have passed since I have written down anything. This household has not been doing so well after Mrs. Lopez’s son ran away. A lot of things have been occurring in Paraguay. I wonder if Juanes, the son, has participated in any of the fights.
So, a man by the name of Jose Gasper Rodriguez de Francia became secretary to Yegros in Asuncion (1). He has a strong influence on the government, because he helped form some kind of alliance with the Argentine military (1). This was not a great idea because Argentina is trying to take advantage of Paraguay’s men to solve its own issues (1). The alliance of armies was broken, and so Argentina is now attempting to blockade Paraguay (1). Luckily, I am a servant at farm house and this family produces enough food and necessities to last weeks.
I must now go and aid Mrs. Lopez and the children.
November 19, 1811
Children are such a handful, which is why I have not been able to write anything.
Now, with men still fighting in the revolution, there is even more work than before. My husband, fortunately, is here, but my son ran away to fight with the neighbors’ son, and neither of them have been seen since.
Although Paraguay officially declared independence a few months ago (1), there are still some fights to be fought, and a chance of losing a loved one to the cause. The leader is apparently someone named Francia(1). Why won’t he finish this and be done with it? I heard that Francia is isolating Paraguay (3). I think it is so that he can protect Paraguay from the neighboring enemies, Brazil and Argentina(3). They actually aren't really enemies, I just think that they find Paraguay an easy target to control. Which may be true, because I wouldn't say that my country is very successful. I'm sure Francia will fix everything.
Or, maybe I just do not understand the situation too well.
I have to go see what Kayla is up to.
February 20, 1812
Nothing exciting has occurred. Mrs. Lopez has not yet come back home and nothing has been heard from him. The family continues on their days as if he was never here…oh what fighting does to people.
The blockade placed not too long ago by Argentina is still going on (1). Paraguay is standing strong. I heard that there have been difficulties with trade moving in and out and outside provisions not arriving. A man named Nicolas de Herrera was sent to the land I live on to try and convince officials in Asuncion to give in (1). Francia did not give in. I heard the neighbors saying that Paraguay will be soon be officially made into an Independent republic. I hope this time will come soon so that Mrs. Lopez’s son will come back home and the house will once again be in peace.
I do not know much about what is going on, for I am just a farm servant. If only I was exposed more to the politics and happenings of the government. I would be able to form a real opinion instead of sitting here idly writing while a revolution is in process.
Time to go milk Linda the cow
December 24, 1813
Times have gotten busier which is why I am no longer writing frequently.
Francia began serving as a co-ruler this year, and of course many people supported him because he had overthrown Spanish rule (1). I heard that he was not happy with just separating Paraguay from Spain, which is why he formally separated Paraguay from Argentina just recently. Oh and he has also banned all foreign commerce, especially with Argentina. People are not really allowed to leave and come as they please, there are restrictions now (3). Paraguay has become an isolated nation (3). This restriction of not trading or leaving does not affect me of course, because I am just a farm servant, and nothing more. I must stay in this farm and serve the family that pays me.
Oh, but I do feel bad for the foreigners who are not allowed to return home. Francia is not allowing anyone to leave.
Being isolated does not help the fact that there are hostile Indians that have the best interest in attacking. I wonder if Independence was a good idea after all…
Oh, I must go now! The children are fussing!
January 3, 1814
I think that I failed to mention that Francia has actually been chosen to take up dictatorship of Paraguay (1). The congress elected him as a supreme dictator for five years. I have no idea what a dictatorship will bring to the land of Paraguay.
Spanish rule has isolated Paraguay (3). I have just recently heard of the notion of democracy—something about people being able to voice their own opinions. Francia does not seem to care much for free speech, or so I have heard (3). Apparently, people are being arrested whenever pleased when speaking badly about the government. I also never realized how there could be wars and such going on in the lands around Paraguay (3). We have been isolated for so long in Paraguay…
December 28, 1814
Francia, who I mentioned before, is indeed the dictator (1), although he was elected in with a lot of support from people like me. The wealthy merchants and families of Paraguay are not too happy with him because he has been forcing the upper class to marry those under them (3). I understand that the wealthy are not happy with him, but I find things to be fairer. After all, a wealthy man should be happy to marry a decent woman that is not of the same level of him.
I still don’t care who is in charge so long as he allows me to make a living. I have a growing family and a missing son—that’s enough for my worries.
Maybe now that he is dictator he will make some changes around here. Now that the Spanish have stopped leaching from us, we can revitalize trade with other more local countries, just as long as Argentina or Brazil do not attempt to gain control of Paraguay. But I heard commerece has been blocked with other coutnries, so maybe we won't be able to revitalize our trade..(3)
There is always something to do around here!
August, 24, 1815
Francia is not who I thought he was. Everything I have heard about him has traveled many tongues, but I still believe what I hear. Apparently, its true that Francia chooses to execute people who attempt to try and leave Paraguay (3). We are sealed from the world! Because we are kept closed in, commerce has strongly declined (1). I feel bad for my neighbor who has an obsession with the tobacco leaves, he has not seen any in awhile (3). The fall in commerce is affected those who were once part of the ruling class such as church officials, officers, and merchants (3).
I have to now go finish the special supper I am preparing today—pollo asado and yucca empandas . Mrs. Lopez is thinking about her missing son again, I’m sure this meal will make her happy.
December 28, 1816
So much has changed in my life in such a short time!
There is some good news and some bad news.
Remember how I mentioned that my son ran off to fight, accompanied with the neighbors’ son? He arrived back a matter of weeks ago. He’s grown up so much! This news is only good for us, though. One thing that made my boy grow up was seeing his friend die. Yes, the poor boy died fighting. I can only imagine how traumatic it must have been for my son…
Some of Francia’s policies have influenced me more than I had thought and hoped.
Don’t misunderstand me, not all of them are bad, but certainly not all of them are good. Due to some scientific advances, we can produce more and do so more easily. People are able to lease land at a somewhat lower rate than before in some cases – i.e. when it is the government’s land - but this also makes it more difficult for people who do not fit that, like us.
Some people love the fact that he blocked us off from all of our neighbors(1). I think that it is a very bad idea. It cuts down on out trade until it is almost entirely within the country, shrinking the market for goods and therefore making them cost less. This means that we, at least, cannot afford to plant as much because we are not earning enough from it to buy more, so we are not very well off. We are barely scraping through. At least now I have enough time to write in this, even though I cannot afford more paper to supplement it.
Although his ideas have cost us our livelihood that does not mean that I don’t support him as a dictator. He is the best we have had since the Spanish controlled us.
Really, overall, this huge revolution doesn’t seem to have made a huge difference to my life. Yes, I am even less well off than I started out when I got this diary at the beginning of the main fighting, but many other people are considerably better off. There must have been a reason for this, and it was successful, so I am sure that it was the right thing to do even if it didn’t help me personally.
December 29, 1816,
It has been a very long time since I last wrote anything down. I have been so busy. Because, Paraguay has been isolated, farmers have been able to sell their products more see that nothing from outside of Paraguay is coming in. The only food people can buy is that of farmers. I do not understand why Mrs. Lopez believes that we are worse off than before. We have been successful, but we have more mouths to feed because we are a growing family and Mrs. Lopez loves children.
El Supremo is the name given to Francia (1,2,3). This is what he is, the supreme controller! He took away power form the church and prohibits any political activity (3). He has taken away what little the once wealthy had. Asuncion does not have as much power as it used to. But, many people do thank Francia from protecting Paraguay from the enemy neighbors who want to control us (1).
I heard that Francia was greatly influenced by the French Revolution(3). I do not see how, for I hear that the French have freedom of speech and I do not believe that we do(4).
I have not been very affected by the revolution that Paraguay has gone through. I am still living my life as I always have a farm servant. I was once very excited for Paraguay to become independent, but now I see that it is not all that great. People have been executed for trying to leave the isolated nation, especially foreigners who want to return back home. There is no commerce… the wealthy class are not what they used to be without their trade and large amounts of land that was stripped from them. Francia has not allowed Europeans to marry Europeans, and so the shinning wealthy class has, I believe, disintegrated. Francia’s interests have been in the commoners, not the wealthy.
I must not state my opinions out loud for someone might hear which is why I have chosen to record them in a diary. I do not see how people have been arrested for their opinions when Francia was influenced by the French Revolution itself which supported free speech.
I must now go and tend to the children…
5) Mom or dad