Horacio Cartes

This name uses Spanish naming customs: the first or paternal family name is Cartes and the second or maternal family name is Jara.
Horacio Cartes
President of Paraguay
Assumed office
15 August 2013
Vice President Juan Afara
Preceded by Federico Franco
Personal details
Born (1956-07-05) 5 July 1956
Asunción, Paraguay
Political party Colorado Party
Spouse(s) former spouse: María Montaña
Children Juan Pablo
María Sol
Residence Mburuvichá Roga
Religion Roman Catholicism

Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara (born 5 July 1956[1]) is a Paraguayan businessman, and current President of Paraguay, as of the Paraguayan general election, 2013. He is a member of the Colorado Party.[2]

Cartes owns about two dozen businesses in his Grupo Cartes conglomerate including tobacco, soft drinks, meat production,[3] and banking. He was president of Club Libertad football club from 2001 until 2012,[4] and had been the president of the national team department of the Paraguayan Football Association during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification.[3][5]

Business career

Cartes' father was the owner of a Cessna aircraft franchise holding company and the young Horacio studied aviation mechanics in the United States. At the age of 19, he started a currency exchange business which grew into the Banco Amambay. Over the following years, Cartes bought or helped establish 25 companies including Tabesa, the country's biggest cigarette manufacturer, and a major fruit juice bottling company.[6]

In 1986, Cartes spent 60 days in jail during a currency fraud investigation. He was accused of making millions of dollars on a central bank loan obtained at a preferential exchange rate and then moving it through his money exchange business before buying farm equipment in the U.S. The case was eventually dropped.[7]

Cartes was imprisoned on charges of currency fraud for seven months in 1989. He was eventually cleared by a court.[8]

In 2000, the anti-drug police seized a plane carrying cocaine and marijuana on his ranch. He claimed that the plane had made an emergency landing, that he had no involvement with the drug trade and that he opposed the legalization of narcotics.[8]

Cartes' name appears in the Offshore leaks files in connection with a Cook Islands financial entity linked to Cartes' Paraguayan bank Banco Amambay.[9][10][11] A classified WikiLeaks cable from 2010 mentioned Cartes as the focus of a money laundering investigation by the DEA.[12][13][14]

Political career

Until 2008 Cartes was uninvolved in politics and he was not registered as a voter.[15] He joined the center-right Colorado Party in 2009 and said he wanted to counter the swing to the left in Latin American politics. He became known as an efficient politician uncompromised by his party's past support of the military dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner who ruled until 1989.[15]

In regards to allegation of his connections to the drug trade, as well as being targeted by the DEA,[16] he said during his presidential campaign: "I wouldn't want to be president if I had ties to drug traffickers. Go to the courts and check. There's nothing, not a single charge against me."[16]

Presidential campaign

Cartes was the Colorado candidate in the 2013 presidential election.[6][15] The BBC suggested that his convincing points during his campaign were the promises to raise private capital to upgrade the country's infrastructure, to modernise its public entreprises, to attract international investments, and to create jobs. On April 21, 2013, he was elected President of Paraguay with 45.80% of the vote.[6] When he took office on August 15, it marked only the second time in the country's 202 years of independence that a ruling party peacefully surrendered power to the opposition.

In regards to the impeachment of Fernando Lugo and the hostile reception the country was given in the aftermath by Latin American leaders, Cartes said that the country should not withdraw from Mercosur due to its economic benefits of free trade: "Paraguay in no way should abandon Mercosur...we have to hold on tight while they bash us a little bit and keep low and don’t play to being giants or annoyed. Mercosur is a common market like is Europe and with our neighbours we also have many coincidences. [In a globalised world] all countries are interconnected and it is out of the questions trying to isolate Paraguay from other countries. The OAS has already began to understand our politics, that we’re a sovereign country, all was done according to the book and the Constitution."[17] Upon being sworn in he said: "I'm not in politics to make a career of it or become wealthier. I'm in politics to serve my people, make the future better for new generations and build up our identity as a free, independent and sovereign people."[16] His inauguration was attended by fellow conservative South American, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera who said: "I want to say to President Horacio Cartes that we are very expectant about his future achievements. The slogan of his campaign was 'new directions,' and every country needs new directions and to be confronted with new challenges...the challenge of integration in our Latin America is still a pending challenge and the experience of the 'Alianza del Pacífico' was a great experience which has been very fruitful." Other leaders at his inauguration were Argentina's Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Peru's Ollanta Humala,[18] Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, Uruguay's José Mujica and Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou.[19]



Cartes said of his cabinet that the future ministers have the "enormous responsibility" of honouring those who voted for them and gave them a governing mandate. "It will be the beginning of a story that us Paraguayans want, a government for all, an inclusive government, our great obligation is with the citizens...we need all the Paraguayans to help us, to orientate us."[19] The majority of them have an overwhelmingly technical profile:[20]


  1. (Portuguese) 18 April 2013, terra.com.br, Horacio Cartes, o multimilionário candidato à presidência do Paraguai
  2. Millionaire businessman wins Paraguay presidency, France 24, 22 April 2013
  3. 1 2 The Independent, 19 April 2013, Horacio Cartes: Millionaire. Criminal. Business titan. Homophobe. The next president of Paraguay?
  4. http://www.d10.com.py:805/futbol/primera-division/club/libertad/26374-cartes-seguira-muy-cerca
  5. "Jonathan Santana se nacionalizó paraguayo". adnmundo.com. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  6. 1 2 3 Profile: Horacio Cartes, BBC News, 22 April 2013
  7. Servin, Pedro; Michael Warren (August 15, 2013). "Paraguay's new president woos foreign investment". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  8. 1 2 Romero, Simon (21 April 2013), "Conservative Tobacco Magnate Wins Presidential Race in Paraguay", The New York times
  10. (Spanish) Diario ABC Color, 16 April 2013, Banco para “alternativas no disponibles en Paraguay”
  11. ICIJ, 15 April 2013, Bank Owned by Paraguay’s Leading Presidential Candidate Linked to Tax Haven
  12. Buenos Aires Herald, 22 April 2013, Horacio Cartes wins comfortably in Paraguay
  13. (Spanish) 14 November 2011, Última Hora, WikiLeaks: Cartes desmiente lavado de dinero en el Banco Amambay
  14. "10BUENOSAIRES5, ZA-09-0007/YAZ1K MARTINETTI, JULIO et al/ OPERATION HEART OF". WikiLeaks. 2010-01-05.
  15. 1 2 3 "Cartes' "good nose" for winning an election" (in Spanish). Brecha. 26 April 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-05-05.
  16. 1 2 3 "International News | World News - ABC News". Abcnews.go.com. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  17. "Paraguayan presidential hopeful said the country should in no way abandon Mercosur — MercoPress". En.mercopress.com. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  18. 1 2 "Piñera visits Paraguay: Inauguration of President". Ilovechile.cl. 2013-08-16. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  19. 1 2 "Paraguay: President-Elect Horacio Cartes Announces Cabinet - The Argentina Independent | The Argentina Independent". Argentinaindependent.com. 2013-08-13. Retrieved 2013-09-02.
  20. 1 2 3 "Technocrat cabinet in Paraguay" (in Spanish). América Economía. 14 August 2013.
  21. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Cartes' new ministers sworn in" (in Spanish). Informador.com.mx. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  22. "Coming back in Paraguay" (in Spanish). Brecha. 16 August 2013.
  23. 1 2 "Two former sportspeople in the Cabinet". Golazotropical.com.py. 15 August 2013.
  24. "Paraguay: Víctor Manuel Pecci is appointed Minister of Sports". Conmebol. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
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Political offices
Preceded by
Federico Franco
President of Paraguay

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