Marcial Samaniego

Marcial Samaniego López (born September 10, 1910; date of death uncertain)[why?] was a Paraguayan general,[1] author, and government official. He served in President Alfredo Stroessner's government when Stroessner took office following a 1954 coup d'etat, and continued in various ministerial roles into the 1980s.

Marcial Samaniego López
Marcial Samaniego.png
Samaniego pictured in 1948
Born(1910-09-10)September 10, 1910
AllegianceParaguay Paraguay
AwardsCross of the Chaco (Paraguay) - ribbon bar.png Cross of the Chaco

Early life and educationEdit

Samaniego was born in San Pedro Department, Paraguay, to Juan Alberto Samaniego and his wife, Maria. He entered the Paraguayan Army as a cadet in 1929 and trained as a military engineer.[2]


Samaniego served during the Chaco War and was later director of Paraguay's Francisco López Military College.[2]

He was one of Alfredo Stroessner's most loyal supporters and helped Stroessner overthrow the government during the 1954 coup d'etat.[3] He was minister of public works from 1954 to 1956, when he was elevated to minister of defense, serving in that post until 1962 when he was returned to the ministry of public works. In 1975 he was again made minister of defense, holding the office until 1983.[4] Samaniego also served as minister of education.[3][2] After an unsuccessful putsch against President Alfredo Stroessner by Epifanio Méndez Fleitas in 1955, Samaniego was temporarily placed in command of the army's rebellious cavalry division as a stabilizing measure.[5]

Indigenous peopleEdit

Samaniego was noted for his fascination with the religions of Paraguay's indigenous people, published several scholarly articles on the Guaraní people, and is credited with convincing the government to award 13,000 hectares of land to protect the Pai Tavytera, the first instance of official support for native land rights in Paraguay.[6][7] However, he was also criticized for endorsing Vicente Pistilli's book Vikings in Paraguay, which made a controversial historical case for early Nordic settlement in the country and which some have alleged guided the government's discriminatory policies against the Aché.[8][9]


A high school in Concepción, Paraguay, is named Colegio Nacional Gral. Marcial Samaniego.[10] A Paraguayan highway is named Avenida General Marcial Samaniego.[11]

Personal lifeEdit

Samaniego's son graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point and was later head of the National Anti-Drug Secretariat during the presidency of Andrés Rodríguez.[12]


  • The Chaco War (1982)[13]


  1. ^ Renshaw, John (2002). The Indians of the Paraguayan Chaco: Identity and Economy. University of Nebraska Press. p. 21. ISBN 080328991X.
  2. ^ a b c "Natalicio del Gral. Marcial Samaniego". Ministry of Education of the Republic of Paraguay. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  3. ^ a b Gutiérrez, Andrés (May 3, 2014). "Hace 60 años empezó la larga noche del stronismo". Ultima Hora. Retrieved April 1, 2017.
  4. ^ Nickson, Andrew (2015). Historical Dictionary of Paraguay. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 518. ISBN 0810879646.
  5. ^ "Reaches Accord with President". Plain Speaker. Associated Press. December 25, 1955. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  6. ^ Ganson, Barbara (April 2009). "The Stroessner Regime and Indigenous Resistance in Paraguay". The Americas. 65 (4): 613–614.
  7. ^ Reed, Richard (1995). Prophets of Agroforestry: Guaraní Communities and Commercial Gathering. University of Texas Press. p. 182. ISBN 0292744870.
  8. ^ Holton, Graham (2004). "Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki Theory and the Denial of the Indigenous Past". Anthropological Forum. 14 (2).
  9. ^ Stone, Peter (2003). The Excluded Past: Archaeology in Education. Routledge. ISBN 1317799879.
  10. ^ Ecos de San Pedro de Ycuamandyyú. Fondo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes. 2007. p. 4.
  11. ^ Hebblethwaite, Margaret (2010). Paraguay. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 203. ISBN 1841623156.
  12. ^ "Historia de una institución cargada de conflictos". La Nacion. June 23, 2016. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
  13. ^ "La Guerra del Chaco : la conducción político-militar como antecedente inmediato del conflicto armado". Worldcat. OCLC. Retrieved April 2, 2017.