In the mid-1970s, construction of the world's largest hydroelectric dam, Itaipú Binacional, on the Paraná River attracted thousands of migrants to the border of Brazil and Paraguay in search of employment. Single male workers found employment with the consortium companies constructing the project, including Paraguay's flagship corporation, Conempa. In the barracks and community center located within the construction zone, single men were exposed to an array of company programs in health, safety, education, recreation, and social welfare intended to shape a new cadre of productive workers and idealized citizens for the new Paraguay envisioned by the military regime. Corporate ideas regarding gender and appropriate sexuality for male workers formed a key pillar in such initiatives. However, as the infrastructure project moved along its construction schedule and toward completion, the popular figure of the arriero perõ (beardless macho) emerged in the company press as a counterexample to company formulations of idealized masculinity for male dam workers.

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