The Diary of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia
Early 1809 Dear Diary, I would like to thank the Lord for allowing me this victory today. I am now the head of the town council in our small town of Asuncíon. It's my privilege to have this honor. I have become head of the Asuncion cabildo, which is the highest position one can become as a criollo. Now I hope that my cries against the Spanish and Argentineans will not go unheard. The audacity of Spain to tax us! They live so far away yet, the freely tax us with no though for our people. I cannot even put into words the rage inside me for how strictly they regulate our trade. Are they not the resources of my land? Is it not important for our people to gain wealth to benefit the Empire as a whole? Then there are the Argentineans. They who would like to think they can gain control of us. Ha! I laugh in their faces, those imposters of Spain. They wish to control my land, yet we are already the Spanish’s territory. Those fools. One day, we will rise up, and our anger will be so uncontrollable, we shall fall upon them with a force they can never control! Sincerely, Francia
July 1810 Dear Diary, Today we have won a monumental victory. Our foes from Buenos Aires are no more. As combined forces, Mestizos and Spaniards rose up in arms and defeated a force threatening out homeland. I feel that it is God’s will that we won the day. I truely believe we have what it takes to become an independant nation. Without him, we never could’ve band together to defeat the enemy. However, all is not well. The Spaniard governor insists we put down our arms and follow his lead. I refuse to be subjugated first by one foreigner and then the next! Oh how we met his request. All the Mestizos rose as one, refusing to lay down our arms, we will not be oppressed! I fear now though that our land shall now spiral into chaos. There is no leader, no man to take over the reins suddenly thrust into our hands by our victory over Buenos Aires. I pray that God will come and make a decision, for the good of this new country, for the good of all of His people. The other day on July 24, when I told members of congress that it is not important who becomes our king, I was returned with a shocked expressions. Sincerely, Francia
May 15, 1811 Dear Diary, Finally! The day has come where we have risen above all else. We are no longer subjugated. We are no longer taxed, or regulated. We are free! The Spanish cannot bring us down. What a bittersweet day! We are free, yet we do not know how to rule. They have let go of our hand, yet we still cannot walk. God, I pray to you to intervene. I pray that you may find a man fit for command and rule of this country. I don't know what I'm more happy about, Paraguays independence or that I was appointed secretary to the National Junta, also know as congress. Sincerely, Francia
August 1, 1811 Dear Diary, I have decided to resign my position as the secretary to the National Junta. I am doing this because of the armies dominance and control they have over the congress. I am going to retire to the country where earlier, I had told them their country was to be betrayed by Paraguays government. Sincerely, Francia
Sometime 1812 Dear Diary, I have recently been elected to the five-man junta to rule Paraguay. Junta members have personally invited me to be incharge of foreign policy affairs. The junta is a council of some of the military leaders from the fight for independence. We now have at least a form of government; however, we are still weak. Five men together cannot rule a country. The struggle for power, the disagreements, the alliances, it is not possible for five to rule as one. I have just as much, if not more, desire to rule this country. I will do the best I can for the masses. I will strip the powerful and empower the weak. Sincerely, Francia
May 1813 Background: Nicolás de Herrera, from Argentina arrived. He soon discovered he would have to wait in Paraquay untill late September for a meeting with the Paraguayan congress. At this same time Paraguay declared itself indepentant from Argentina and expelled two members of junta that were known to be sided with Argentina. Nicolas de Herrera was put on house arrest and could not find and support from Argentina, sos instead he began to bribe. Sincerely, Francia
September 30, 1813 Dear Diary, The congress finally met today. Herrera had been waiting for mounths for this, bud luckily for us he was not allowed to even attend the sessions or to pressent his decloration. The congress suppoted my anti- imperialist foreign pilicy which was an amazing accomplishment. I have never seen such a meeting. There were over 1,100 delegates chosen chosen by male suffrage. Everyone from Paraguay was represented even our unwealthy majority had delegates to represent them. Although everyone was well represented this is was lead to the dictatorship. Some things that came out of this congress meeting was that the delegates rejected a proposal for paraguayan attendance at a constitutional congress at Buenos Aires, and they also made a Paraguayan republic. The Paraguayan republic is the first in Spanish America and I was appointed first consul. I am expected, however, to trade places every four months with Flugencio Yegros whos sits below me as the second consul. Sincerely, Francia
Mid 1814 Dear Lord, I thank you for your blessings. Without you I never would have had this chance to gain control. The Congress has just elected me “Dictator”, ruling the country once again of Paraguay. My ideals have truly come full circle. With the rural poor gaining more and more control, specifically in Congress and now myself, I must now find a way to keep this new nation on its feet. I must see how I can secure its survival in this hostile new territory. I shall create an egalitarian society. Please dear lord, allow my power to stay longer than Fulgencio Yegros. Ealier this year was crowned as well, October 12, 1813 yet I soon lost it in February 12, 1814 to Yegros. Sincerely, Francia
Two Years Later, 1816 Dear Diary, The Congress has just elected me “Dictator for Life”! Now I can focus on a lasting legacy. The people know not what I can do for them. I must make them see me in the light and become their master. They shall love me, and our country shall grow strong. I wish to weaken the elite and give to the poor. My policy shall bring fairness and equality to this nation. We will be united. Sincerely, Francia
Bulletin: 1818 Those scheming Argentineans! They think that they can just control us. We have already defied them, now we have no other choice. Effective immediately, trade along river to Buenos Aires will be restricted. No Paraguayans may leave our great country and no foreigners shall be allowed entry. We must isolate ourselves from these our nations if we want to survive. Also, all clergy shall be expelled at once! They try to fill our minds with ideas that do not go with the policy of Paraguay. I shall appoint new clergy when I see fit. People take their land. Let them know how we feel. We must not allow them to break us!
October 1820 Dear Diary, A disaster has struck Paraguay! A plague of locusts has destroyed almost all of the crops. As soon as I heard I demanded a second harvest planted, I just pray I'm not to late god. This simple thing could ruin our economy. I never want a repeat of what is happening currently so I have ordered the people of Paraguay to plant two crops per year. Sincerely, Francia
1821 Dear Diary, Today I arrested close to 300 of the elites and broke them. They were permitted into the Chamber of Truth for their disloyalty to our land. They think they are better than the rest of the people, we shall see if this holds true once they are released. I will force them to pay taxes so high that they must strip themselves of power and money to go free. They will know the true meaning of a united nation once this has happened. They will not interfere with my plans! For I am El Supremo and no one shall stand in my way! Sincerely, Francia
Page found glued to the back Government Announcement September 20, 1840 People of Paraguay! Our dear leader, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, has died. He breathed his last breathes in his homeland and ours of Paraguay. He ruled till his death. We must mourn the loss of our Champion. This man led the efforts for our independence. It was Francia who helped preserve this land from the threat of Buenos Aires. It was this man who has allowed our great nation to thrive as well as survive these hostile times! Our leader, almost single handedly, built up our strong nation, and aloud Paraguay to remain a distinct country. He lived long, to the age of seventy-four. He treated us all equaly, even those of under class, and we all must pay our respects.Mourn this man as if you lost your father. Your brother. Your friend. May he rest in peace.