A group of Paraguayan human rights activists and government officials had met Wednesday morning in Asunción to inaugurate a museum in what was once a torture centre of the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner. But suddenly the news arrived: The elderly former dictator was dead.

The coincidence was interpreted by human rights lawyer and former political prisoner Martín Almada as a sign of the end of an era and the start of another in which the coming generations would have the mission of clarifying what happened during the bloody reign of General Stroessner, who governed Paraguay with an iron fist from 1954 to 1989.

At the age of 93, and weighing just 45 kilos, Stroessner died Wednesday in exile in Brasilia, the capital of Brazil. He had spent several days in intensive care, with pneumonia, after a hernia operation.