“Have any of you been to Paraguay? It’s awful.” – a friend in a Colombian hostel during a Paraguay football match.
One day I took a free walking tour in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I do recommend these free walking tours, which have spread across the globe. They’re not technically free because you are expected to give a tip (you don’t have to, but every one I’ve been on has been worth far more than I paid, and they always seem to put a real effort in).
One South American country I had no interest in visiting was Paraguay. I also had only met one other tourist in my entire trip who had been, and he hated it.
Our tour guide was also a human rights lawyer. The one area of law with no money, forcing him to double as a guide. He explained that at one time Paraguay was seriously growing in wealth and status. It’s threatened neighbours allied and attacked. Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia joined forces and slaughtered the majority of their population. Our guide said that 80% of the men were killed, and that this is classed as genocide. This was back in 1864-1870, but apparently the country never quite recovered.