Paraguay profile - Leaders
President: Horacio Cartes
Horacio Cartes won the presidential election in April 2013, raising hopes of ending the country's regional isolation after the president's controversial impeachment in 2012.
Mr Cartes' victory returned the right-wing Colorado Party to the top office that it held for 61 years before left-wing former Roman Catholic bishop Fernando Lugo won the office in 2008.
Mr Lugo was impeached in June 2012 over his handling of a deadly land dispute, a move that several regional governments denounced as a "legislative coup" by the conservative assembly.
A week after he was sworn in, parliament voted to give Mr Cartes new powers allowing him to deploy the military against left-wing rebels of the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP).
Mr Cartes is a millionaire cigarette and soft drink magnate. He is part of the tiny elite that controls just about everything in Paraguay, one of the continent's poorest countries.
His father sold Cessna planes and Mr Cartes went to school in the United States. He runs the champion Libertad football club.