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The Diary of Pablo Sanchez

November 22, 1810

Dear Diary, It all started back in the late fall of 1810 when a skirmish broke out among the people in our town. The Spanish army came marching in demanding respect and control for the Spanish governor. I wasn’t looking for a fight at the time. My son Juan and I went into town to buy wheat for supper that night. It was all unexpecting. The Spanish opened fire on a group of Paraguayian rebels who tried disarming the soldiers. I ran for cover. But before I could run away, I noticed my son on the ground with a bloody shirt. He was only 16 and too young to die. After this skirmish, I decided to become one of the rebels and overthrow the government. I didn’t want my son to die for no reason.

December 10, 1810

Dear Diary You know who I am diary; Pablo Sanchez from the outskirts of town. I am poor and lonely since my wife died during the birth of my son. I have three things in my life: God, Juan, and my farm. My son, who told you earlier, was supposed to be 17 next May but he rests in peace now. I’m starting to lose faith in everything. Ever since I lost my son, I don’t feel a purpose for going on. I want freedom for my country and myself.

December 21, 1810

Dear Diary, We had another meeting today to discuss our plans for overthrowing the government. I was unanimously elected the leader of our revolution along side José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia. We both had good ideas. We put together two town militias to ward off any Spanish troops that wonder through our town. In all together, we only have 226 men signed up in the militia. Almost half of these are young and old men. Since my farm was on the west side, I was protector of the west. I have four other farmers living in my house with me; Miguel, Antonio, Jose, and Francis. They helped me guard the west side. Francia told us that Argentina recently fought off Spanish forces gained their independence. He also said that Argentina is planning on including Paraguay into their new country. He wants us to assemble and be prepared to fight off the Argentineans if they try to take Paraguay.

January 2, 1811

Dear Diary We lost a lot of soldiers, friends, brothers, and husbands today. We finally encountered the Argentinean army. Francia wasn’t able to reinforce us so my militia fought alone but managed to keep them out of Paraguay. Francia and I expect the Argentineans to make one more final run at us.

January 16, 1811

Dear Diary, Francia and I met to talk about a plan for overthrowing the Spanish governor. I proposed that we take the governor by force. I wanted to gather all of our troops we have and march to the governor’s house and personally take him out of power. If Spanish troops were in the way, I agreed to fight. But Francia and I decided that we need to knock Argentina out of the picture before we took over the governor.

February 4, 1811

Dear Diary, Firing among Paraguayan citizens occurred today. I was fortunate to have not been there but my good friend and roommate, Miguel, was a victim today. We buried him outside my home and wrote “Fight ‘till the Death” on his tomb stone. Too many people close to me have died.

March 12, 1811

Dear Diary, Hooray! We finally defeated the Argentinean army. They thought they could take over our father’s land. To hell with them! We got Argentina out of but at a heavy toll; 79 men were lost at the Battle of Paraguay. Now our main focus is on the Spanish and the governor. Once we overthrow them, life will be easier. I’m meeting with Francia sometime soon to discuss further ideas on overthrowing the governor.

April 21, 1811

Dear Diary, Francia and I have set a date next month for the attack on the governor’s home; May 14, 1811. We will first declare independence and then fight until freedom is brought upon our country. We don’t expect much defense from the Spanish soldier’s. No recent attacks or skirmishes by the Spanish have occurred. I think they are worn done and ready to hand over freedom. We will know by next month what is to come of our country.

May 13, 1811

Dear Diary, I met with our soldiers to go over our plans one final time. They seemed afraid of what might happen tomorrow. I was a little nervous myself but I tried not to show it. Before we dismissed I gave some encouraging words. I spoke about the American Revolution. This raised the men’s morale. They believed if the colonists could overthrow the British, then we can overthrow Spanish rule. I convinced our men it was liberty or death.

May 14, 1811

Dear Diary, We have freedom! This is such a great day. We declared our freedom and overthrew the governor without firing a single shot. No one was harmed in the process. I wish my son were here with me. He always spoke of freedom from the Spanish. I wish he were here…

May 17, 1811

Dear Diary, Now that we are free, talk of what to do with our new government is becoming very chaotic. All the soldiers believe that Francia should be leader of our new free country but that’s not for me to decide. My time with politics and war is over. I’m returning to my farm to live the rest of my life in peace. I hope this country that was home to my son can be developed peacefully.

The Diary of Alex Rodriguez Edit

Dear Diary, I know it has been a while since my last entry and I can’t wait to explain everything that has gone on since then. So much has happened and there is so much I need to say everything has changed in just three years and I am excited but not sure of what is to come. It seemed like everyone was just coming in to try and take our land away from us, but we wouldn’t give in. No we fought proudly until we drove them away and gained our independence. We even broke away from our father country, Spain who almost every Paraguayan has grown to hate. Though we have gained our independence, we now have to decide what to do with it; how are we going to run this country all by ourselves?

The Spanish imposed heavy taxes(5), had full rights to all of our goods before we rebelled(6), and they benefited immensely while we watched what we worked so hard on get taken away from us. Though the worst part is it seemed liked there was nothing we could do about it, after all they did found our colony/ country and had a very strong fighting force that none of us thought we could stand up to. Even if we wanted to complain or say something about how Spain was treating its colonies we couldn't of because the Council of the Indies which controlled all of the Spanish Colonies met in Spain (6) so our voices could not be heard. Though just when it seemed like there was nothing left to do accept try to live, adjust and make the best of what we had something incredible happened. In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain capturing the Spanish King, Ferdinand VII(5), suddenly we had a chance, suddenly we had the opportunity to take our independence while Spain was occupied with Napoleon and the rest of there empire. It was incredible me and my family along with everyone else I knew were getting ready to finally break free from Spain and to say we will not be taken advantage of anymore.

  Though we did run into some problems along our way to freedom, and surprisingly enough they were from another colony in South America . Argentina became a problem as we went for our independence because in 1810 Buenos Aires asked us to follow them in a “Virtual Declaration of Independence” (1), but we refused. We would not take leadership from another country like we had been taking it from Spain , that is why we were fighting, that is why we were becoming independent, so we could do it ourselves. So before we could do anything we had to defends ourselves and beat Argentina , so we could continue with our plans for breaking away from Spain. We of course came out on top and to our excitement took out the last Spanish governor the next year, completing our independence on a date that we will all remember for the rest of our lives, May 14, 1811.  

So now that we have our independence everyone is trying to figure out, what’s next? What type of government should we use democracy, communism, socialism… there are so many things that we need to figure out and I am hoping that we didn’t just get through becoming independent to admit that we need help and can’t figure out what to do on our own. That is my biggest fear right now but I know we’ll get through this; we did what we did for a reason, and would not have prevailed if we did not have a strong country that was ready to be on its own.

  So that is what has happened since I wrote last three years ago, quite stunning isn’t it Paraguay will never be the same again all because of a few years that we stood up to make a difference in. A whole revolution I guess you could say has taken place and I hope everything turns out to the best tat it possible can. We went against and won against Spain which was once the controlling power of our country we wouldn't even dare to challenge. Even going up against Argentina and winning was pretty significant, but was not nearly as significant as when we took our independence. I just pray that we find a government that suits us, and that will help us to stand up in the worlds without help from other countries. So many good changes have been made and I am very excited for the bright future ahead of Paraguay and what will happen next.

~Alex Rodriguez

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