Landlocked by Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina, this enigmatic country roughly the size of California and the population of 6.5 million people does not make news regularly on the international stage. Paraguay gained its independence from Spain in 1811, similarly to its neighbors. Through subsequent wars in mid 1800’s it also lost some of its territory and power. Further into 20th century the country shared similar fate of other South American nations enduring 35 years of military dictatorship which ended in 1989. Its economy is mostly dependent on agriculture and somewhat vaguely described informal sector of re-exportation. The extreme example of this is the infamous Tri-Border area with Brazil and Argentina where weak border control, money laundering laws and corruption contribute to a thriving market of illicit drugs and trafficking as well as fundraising of extremist organizations.
The meaning of the flag:
Three equal, horizontal bands of red (top), white, and blue with an emblem centered in the white band; unusual flag in that the emblem is different on each side; the obverse (hoist side at the left) bears the national coat of arms (a yellow five-pointed star within a green wreath capped by the words REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY, all within two circles); the reverse (hoist side at the right) bears a circular seal of the treasury (a yellow lion below a red Cap of Liberty and the words PAZ Y JUSTICIA (Peace and Justice)); red symbolizes bravery and patriotism, white represents integrity and peace, and blue denotes liberty and generosity
note: the three color bands resemble those on the flag of the Netherlands; one of only three national flags that differ on their obverse and reverse sides – the others are Moldova and Saudi Arabia
source of information: CIA World Factbook
The next country on the list: A line runs through it which divides the hemispheres and gives it its name