Paraguay: How Caballero’s Nepotism Decays UNE’s Resources – OpEd


In 2014 Paraguay’s National University of the East (UNE) was among the top five public – private institutions of tertiary education nationwide.  Ten years ago, under the leadership of Chancellor Victor Britez Chamorro [1], UNE secured abundant financial resources from the Government of President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara, enabling the university to have its own TV channel, introduce Paraguay’s economic diplomacy in North America, bolstered research in Renewable Energy Industry and provided scholarships for students to conduct research in agriculture and food industries abroad (USA and Eurasia).  On June 2016, UNE welcomed Dr. Harold Krent, Dean of Chicago – Kent College of Law (Illinois Institute of Technology – IIT), [2] being the first ever visit of a US university leader in the nation’s history since the demise of Gen. Alfredo Stroessner’s brutal dictatorship in 1989. 

Today, UNE in Ciudad del Este – Paraguay, under the leadership of Chancellor Dr. Osvaldo de la Cruz Caballero and his cronies – Julio César Meaurio Leiva and Gerónimo Manuel Laviosa González – has become the prime example of how corruption corrodes the quality of higher education and significantly harms public interest at the harshest levels.   

As President Santiago Peña Palacios has openly declared an unprecedented war against nepotism, traffic of influence and corruption, Chancellor Cruz Caballero has allegedly allocated large budgetary resources to directly benefit his family members and close associates that help preserve his unprecedented fiefdom; actions that are a clear menace to the economic development of Alto Paraná Region.   

Zoraida Caballero Salinas is the daughter of Chancellor Osvaldo de la Cruz Caballero (UNE). It’s been reported that she joined the University as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Economic Sciences (FCE) in 2016, selected from a list of candidates that the Board of Directors of this faculty proposed for hiring to UNE’s Higher Council which was led by her father, Osvaldo de la Cruz Caballero, at that time serving as Vice Chancellor. 

The case of Caballero’s daughter, reported by Nacion Media Group in Asuncion, is one of many individuals that are allegedly irregularly hired by UNE’s top brass. [3]   

The case of Zoraida Caballero Salinas stands out among the relatives of senior officials of the National University of the East (UNE), that are favored with appointments within the institution; if true it suggests that she was irregularly selected among 105 qualified candidates. 

In the resolution issued for her position, it is mentioned that the Board of Directors – of Economic Sciences College FCE – approved the candidates who met the “documentary, merit and aptitude requirements that comply with the criteria established in the Institution’s Chair Competition Regulations”; however, further details are unknown about the scores obtained by each candidate and what requirements were met.  

In the list proposed by the FCE Council it can be observed that the Chancellor’s daughter was the only candidate for the position of assistant professor of Methodology and Research Technique of the second year, section B of the Administration degree; securing the position that later had the approval of the Council led by her father, according to reports.

Another bizarre moment is that in the same year, Zoraida also joined the UNE Graduate School where she was a research professor until 2017, although the results of her research are not known.  UNE Graduate School is led by Gerónimo Manuel Laviosa González, a former Chancellor who has reached retirement age but nonetheless allegedly continues to receive a lavish salary for courses that he doesn’t lecture and for undertaking research projects that are never published. 

In his recent analysis on Paraguay, Eduardo Álvarez Rodríguez, president, and CEO of PUENTIA states:   

“In order to create you have to believe. That is a kilometer zero of everything or almost everything. Believe. The recent official visit of President Santiago Peña to Spain has certainly dazzled everyone.  From Madrid, the fashionable capital in Europe, Santiago Peña has presented his country’s project, that of a nation prepared to assert itself before the world, a regional beacon of political and economic stability in the center of Mercosur.” [4] 

 Under Caballero, the UNE community has ceased to believe. 

Moreover, another favored individual appears to be Carlos Mancuello Egusquiza, brother of the dean of the Faculty of Law and Social Sciences, Rafael Mancuello Egusquiza, who became in 2019 (just a year after his brother took over as a dean) as head of the office in the Research Directorate and 6 months later he received a full-time teaching position equivalent to G. 6.3 million, an income that, added to his teaching hours, generated a remuneration of G. 12.6 million.  

UNE continues to suffer from the unscrupulous administration of public resources, Caballero must resign, and the office of Paraguay’s attorney general Dr. Emiliano Rolón Fernández should immediately open an investigation.

The views expressed in this article belong to the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect those of Eurasia Review.






Peter Tase

Peter Tase is a freelance writer and journalist of International Relations, Latin American and Southern Caucasus current affairs. He is the author of America's first book published on the historical and archeological treasures of the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan (Republic of Azerbaijan); has authored and published four books on the Foreign Policy and current economic – political events of the Government of Azerbaijan. Tase has written about International Relations for Eurasia Review Journal since June 2012.

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