In recent decades, public education has been tightly controlled by the government, and private educational institutions also had to conform. Public-sector educational personnel, from the minister of education and worship down to the primary school teachers, had to belong to the Colorado Party. The Catholic University, although subject to pressure and even invasion by the police, enjoyed a somewhat more open environment for teaching and research than did the National University.
For most of the Stronato, students at the public and Catholic universities were represented by the government-sponsored University Federation of Paraguay (Federación Universitaria del Paraguay -- FUP). In June 1985, however, several hundred law students demonstrated publicly in favor of freedom of the press and an end to corruption. Following the death of a law student, violent confrontations erupted with the police in April 1986. The student movement removed itself from the control of the National Committee of the Colorado Party, and the FUP was disbanded. In April 1987, a new organization, the Federation of University Students of Paraguay (Federación de Estudiantes Universitarios del Paraguay -- FEUP) was formally launched at a meeting attended by 5,000 students. The FEUP participated in the national dialogue although the union was not legally recognized.
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