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Isolation is not desirable for sometimes it may lead to rude awakenings: Josť Gaspar Rodriguez Francia was Paraguay's first president and dictator; he alienated the governments of Argentina and Brazil, suffered a total blockade for nearly fifty years because of this, isolated completely his country and created a regime that maintained his doctrine by the use of harsh methods until one of his inheritors tried to solve a dispute with Brazil by the use of force, around 1870.

Argentina allied herself with Brazil, and despite the fact that the Paraguayan army was good as a combat force, it was not prepared to deal with these bigger and more powerful adversaries. The Paraguayans believed that they could handle the situation for they had not measured their forces in the past against those of other countries, and their government was not prepared to deal with other countries in a diplomatic sense, for the population could not understand what exactly a foreigner was after half a century of isolation.

The result of this mix was that after a conflagration as intense an destructive as the American Civil War, Paraguay was eventually crushed and devastated: 90% of its male population had been killed, finding their way to the Guiness Book of Records as the victims of the most effective extermination campaign of human history, but the more lasting consequence was that Paraguay lost 50% of its territory, with disastrous side effects in its economy.




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