Emboscada is a cute Paraguayan town known for its artisanal mining industry. Sandstone from Emboscada is used all over Paraguay to create cream colored facades for buildings. Emboscada is also well known as the location of Tacumbu, Paraguay’s primary prison. During the Stroessner dictatorship many political prisoners were kept here. The best time to visit Emboscada is on July 24th to catch the patron saint festival held in the community of Minas de Emboscada, notable due to feathered costumes worn by its participants.
Sidebar: Emboscada is home to Paraguay’s largest afro-american population, descended from Uruguayan slaves who came to Paraguay in the 1820’s.
Fiesta Patronal San Fransisco Solano
Every July 24th the small community of Minas holds festivities in honor of their patron saint, St. Fransisco Solano. Festival goers known as the “guaicuru” wear masks and elaborate costumes covered head to toe with all manner of feathers. These costumes, which are mostly made of chicken and guinea hen feathers, can take months to create. Some people wear traditional masks while others sport rubber Halloween masks. The day’s events include an early morning mass followed by traditional dancing by the feathered guaicuru. The guaicuru also make an appearance during a special mass held on the night of the 22nd. Minas Cue is located five kilometers from the center of Emboscada. For a festival itinerary contact Emboscada’s municipal office.
Departamento San Pedro
The department of San Pedro is one of Paraguay’s poorest, with the majority of its population dependant on small scale and subsistence agriculture for survival. The province is known for “sin tierras” (those without land) whose frequent land invasions are highly politicized. President Lugo began his presence in the national political scene as the Bishop of San Pedro, preaching in favor of the rights of rural farmers, known as “campesinos.”