ASUNCION – Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes paid tribute on Friday to a group of veterans of the 1932-1935 Chaco War at a military ceremony as a lead-up to the 81st anniversary of the peace signed by Paraguay and Bolivia to be celebrated this Sunday.
Cartes, accompanied by Vice President Juan Azara, presided over the event at Army Command headquarters in Asuncion in the presence of the military high commands and five former combatants in that conflict, some of them wearing their decorations.
The president, who left a floral tribute to the fallen in that war with a laurel crown, had words of praise for the Paraguayans who took part in its battles.
“Every inch of Chaco Boreal is a history written in letters of blood by Paraguayan soldiers who never retreated despite their suffering nor hesitated to make their sacrifice,” Cartes said, as cited by the state news agency IP.
The president added that the “Chaco War was a tragic falling out with our Bolivian brothers because Paraguay had always held legitimate possession of its dominion of Chaco Boreal, as copious documentation shows.”
Every June 12, Paraguay celebrates Chaco Peace Day, and commemorates the date when it signed the end of the war with Bolivia.
The final peace treaty defining the borders between the two countries was signed three years later, on July 21, 1938.
Some 700 Paraguayans who fought in that war were still alive in 2014, according to the Finance Ministry.