Last Updated: Thursday, 26 May 2016, 08:56 GMT

Argentina: Information concerning the assassination of Paraguayan vice-president Luis Maria Argana in March 1999; reports of harassment of either Argentinian or Paraguayan nationals in Argentina as a result of it

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 15 January 2002
Citation / Document Symbol ARG38386.E
Reference 2
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Argentina: Information concerning the assassination of Paraguayan vice-president Luis Maria Argana in March 1999; reports of harassment of either Argentinian or Paraguayan nationals in Argentina as a result of it, 15 January 2002, ARG38386.E, available at: [accessed 27 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

On 23 March 1999, Paraguayan vice-president Luis Maria Argana was shot and killed (U.S. Department of State 23 Mar. 1999; BBC News 24 Mar. 1999) by three or four men in camouflage (ibid.). BBC News reports that the Paraguayan Congress "blamed 'President Raul Cubas, and his accomplice, the coup leader Lino Oviedo for the perpetration of this political crime'" (ibid.). Oviedo fled to Argentina, where he was given political asylum (CNN 23 Sept. 1999; AFP 10 Dec. 1999). Alleged participants in the assassination Luis Alberto Rojas and Fidencio Vega Barrios also fled to Argentina, were arrested, and subsequently escaped prison while awaiting extradition to Paraguay (World News 18 Sept. 2000). One of the alleged assassins was later captured and returned to Asuncion for trial (U.S. Department of State 26 Feb. 2001).

According to Agence France Presse, relations between Argentina and Paraguay had deteriorated following Argentina's refusal to extradite Lino Oviedo, the alleged architect of the Vice-President's assassination (26 Feb. 2000). At the time of the article, Oviedo had fled Argentina for an unknown location (ibid.). Oviedo was later arrested and remains in prison in Brazil (U.S. Department of State 26 Feb. 2001; BBC 29 Nov. 2001).

No information on the treatment of Paraguayan or Argentinian nationals by either Paraguayan or Argentinian authorities inside Argentina following the assassination of Argana could be found among sources consulted by the Research Directorate. However, in September 2001, Argentina and Paraguay signed an agreement making it easier for illegal Paraguayan immigrants to obtain legal status in Argentina (Financial Times 5 Sept. 2001). The article estimated that 400,000 of Argentina's 1 million Paraguayan immigrants were there illegally (ibid.).

In January 2000, an Argentine journalist named Alberto Avila was anonymously threatened and his home attacked, for his investigation into the Argana assassination (Weekly News Update 30 Jan. 2000).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Presse [Buenos Aires]. 26 February 2000. "Suspected Argana Assassin Arrested in Argentina." (LEXIS/NEXIS)

_____. 10 December 1999. "Exiled Paraguayan General Missing in Argentina." (LEXIS/NEXIS)

BBC News. 29 November 2001. "Paraguay General Sent Back to Prison." [Accessed 14 January 2002]

_____. 24 March 1999. "Congress Accuses President for Paraguay Murder." [Accessed 8 January 2002]

CNN [Buenos Aires]. 23 September 1999. "Argentina Banishes Paraguay General to Interior." (Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology News Service) [Accessed 8 January 2002]

Financial Times [Buenos Aires]. 5 September 2001. "Argentina-Paraguay (Scheduled) Argentina, Paraguay Sign Immigration, Cooperation Agreements." (Global News Wire)

United States Department of State. 26 February 2001. 2000 U.S. State Department Human Rights Report. [Accessed 14 January 2002]

_____. 23 March 1999. "Daily Press Briefing." [Accessed 8 January 2002]

Weekly News Update [New York]. 30 January 2000. "Journalist Covering Paraguay Murder Threatened in Argentina." [Accessed 14 January 2002]

World News [Buenos Aires]. 18 September 2000. "VP's Alleged Assassins Flee Argentinian Prison." [Accessed 9 January 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB databases

Latin American Regional Reports: Southern Cone Report (LARR) [London]

World News Connection

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

BBC News Online

Clarín [Buenos Aires]

DERECHOS Human Rights

Human Rights Watch

Minorities at Risk Project

La Nación [Buenos Aires]

U.S. Department of State

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

Search Refworld