I know that it is probably an exercise in masochism for me to play as the country of Paraguay for my first game of AHD, but I really want to play this nation more than I do any other country; even getting enough help to do better than just straight out abysmal would be much appreciated.
So, right of the bat, I usually get attacked by Brazil with any potential allies immediately flaking out; I've tried to get the US or Spain to sphere me, but they never seem interested. I only lose one little province that they have a core on, so I don't think that is so bad. However, what is bad is that my economy stays in a rut; I have a feeling that it is because I'm pretty low in terms of country rankings, but I just cannot seem to get it any better. What I usually do is set stockpile and military to 0, raise taxes on poor and rich to max, and set the middle class taxes as low as possible. Even so, over time I lose clergy and bureaucrats, although it doesn't seem as though it is because any of them are demoting. I usually put an NF first on clergy to boost up my literacy and research points, and then later I will place an NF for bureaucrats.
I usually research technology like freedom of trade, business regulations, etc. that boost my RGO production, which usually is good enough to give me a fairly large budget surplus. But then when I try to put the money into factories (cement, glass, etc., the ones that seem to usually be recommended), they usually seem to run losses even though most of the time they seem to be able to meet their demand for inputs (I make sure to put in an NF for craftsmen when I have my factories up and running, so they can fill up.) And, on top of it all, my population seems to slowly decline over time, possibly having something to do with the fact that my militancy always seems to be on the rise (partly because I prefer events that increase militancy over events that increase consciousness, since I am lead to believe that consciousness has worse effects than militancy under a reactionary government that I start with and cannot change.) In any case, I never really seem to be able to get into industrialization.
So... does anyone have any suggestions as to what I might do to avoid being completely destroyed in my next attempt?