Paraguayan election: Lugo land reform banished, CIA backed fascists are back

Tony Gosling tony at
Sun Apr 21 00:18:29 BST 2013

Hopes of farmers ahead of Paraguay poll
Presidential elections in South American country 
prompt calls by landless farmers for return of territories.
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2013 16:21
People in Paraguay are set to go to the polls to elect a new president.
Among the voters in Sunday's election are 
landless farmers who are calling for territories to be returned.
They hope their decades-long calls will finally 
be listened to by a new president.
Al Jazeera's Mariana Sanchez reports from Asuncion.


Enxet Indians take back their land 17 April 2013
Convicted fraudster Heribert Roedel bought up 
ancestral Enxet territory in Paraguay – and then evicted the Indians.
A group of Enxet Indians in western Paraguay have 
moved back to their homeland after waiting for 
almost 20 years by the side of a highway for 
their land to be officially returned to them.
The Enxet community of Sawhoyamaxa were thrown 
off their ancestral territory in 1995 by Heribert 
Roedel, a German rancher who has become a major 
landowner in the thick forests of western Paraguay.
Much of his fortune comes from a fraud committed 
against German members of the public, who he 
persuaded to invest in land in Paraguay, in an 
area now claimed by another Indian tribe, the 
Ayoreo-Totobiegosode. He pretended to invest 
their money in improving the land but, instead, 
pocketed the funds. Roedel was the subject of an 
Interpol arrest warrant as a result.
Following years of neglect by the Paraguayan 
government, during which nineteen members of the 
community reportedly died preventable deaths, 
including several children, the Enxet of 
Sawhoyamaxa community took their case to the 
Inter-American Court of Human Rights with the 
help of local organization Tierraviva.
In 2006 the Court ruled that the government must 
hand over 12,000 hectares of land to the Indians 
– a fraction of their original territory – within 3 years.
But the government has failed to uphold the 
court’s order, and now the community has decided 
to return to its ancestral land of its own 
accord, despite the risk of being evicted once more.
Many Enxet families have been forces to live by 
the sides of roads in makeshift housing for decades.
A member of the community has said, ‘During these 
20 years we have been living along the side of a 
road, watching how cows occupy the land where we 
used to live and where our parents lived. These 
lands are ours, and we do not want to live any 
longer along the side of this road, witnessing 
powerlessly the birth of our children and the 
deaths of our parents and grandparents from this road.
‘Our culture, language and traditions are 
inextricably linked to this land. Without it, we 
run the risk of disintegrating as a community.’
Survival has previously supported Sawhoyamaxa and 
other Enxet communities claiming title to their 
land. Many still struggle for survival, and live 
displaced and forgotten by the Paraguayan state.

Paraguayan peasant leader shot dead
Vidal Vega was among last surviving leaders of 
peasant movement whose land dispute led to president's downfall
Associated Press in Asunción -, 
Sunday 2 December 2012 16.08 GMT
Gunmen murdered one of the last surviving leaders 
of a peasant movement in Paraguay whose land 
dispute with a politician prompted the end of 
Fernando Lugo's presidency in June.
Vidal Vega, 48, was hit four times by bullets 
from a 12-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber 
revolver fired by two unidentified men who sped 
away on a motorcycle, according to an official report.
A friend, Mario Espinola, said Vega was shot when 
he stepped outside to feed his farm animals.
Vega was among the public faces of a commission 
of landless peasants from the settlement of Yby 
Pyta, which means Red Dirt in their native 
Guarani language. He had lobbied the government 
for many years to redistribute some of the 
ranchland that the Colorado party senator Blas 
Riquelme began occupying in the 1960s.
Last May the peasants finally lost patience and 
moved on to the land. A firefight during their 
eviction on 15 June killed 11 peasants and six 
police officers, prompting the Colorado party and 
other leading parties to vote Lugo out of office 
for allegedly mismanaging the dispute.
Twelve suspects, nearly all of them peasants from 
Yby Pyta, have been detained since then without 
formal charges, on suspicion of murdering the 
officers, seizing property and resisting 
authority. The prosecutor had six months to 
develop the case and will present his findings on 16 December.
Vega had been expected to be a witness at the 
criminal trial, since he was among the few 
leaders not killed in the clash or jailed 
afterwards. He was not charged because he was 
away getting supplies when the violence erupted.
Riquelme, who died of natural causes about a 
month after the battle in June, occupied the land 
during the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner, 
whose government gave away land for free to 
anyone willing to put it to productive use. A 
court in Curuguaty upheld Riquelme's claim to the 
land years later. Lugo's government later sought 
to overturn the decision, but the case remains tied up in court.

Guardian letters - suport for Lugo
We join the governments of Brazil, Argentina, 
Bolivia, Venezuela, Ecuador and the Dominican 
Republic in condemning the removal of the elected 
president, Fernando Lugo, in Paraguay, in a 
process widely described as a political coup 
(Report, 22 June). President Lugo has called his 
removal a blow against Paraguay's democracy and, 
although accepting he is now out of office, has 
termed it an "express coup d'etat". President 
Lugo was given just 24 hours to prepare a defence 
against an impeachment instituted by a temporary 
rightwing majority in parliament, using 
procedures the Lugo government has previously 
declared illegal and unconstitutional. There have 
been reports of human rights abuses from the new 
regime. Activists in the Paraguayan unions are 
reporting that the military have fired at unarmed 
protesters. Tens of thousands are protesting for 
the return of Lugo. International support is vital.
Richard Gott
Hugh O'Shaughnessy Author, The Priest of Paraguay
Ken Livingstone
Professor Doreen Massey
Dr Francisco Dominguez Centre for Brazilian and 
Latin American Studies, Middlesex University
Colin Burgon Labour Friends of Venezuela and Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Billy Hayes General secretary, CWU
Tony Burke Assistant general secretary, Unite the Union
Aaron Kiely Black students' officer (elect), National Union of Students

Paraguay presidential race sinks to new low amid corruption scandal
Fraud allegations circling frontrunners Horacio 
Cartes and Efrain Alegre do little to improve Paraguay's tarnished reputation
Jonathan Gilbert in Asunción and Jonathan Watts, Friday 19 April 2013 11.40 BST
Even by the historically dire standards of 
corruption in Latin America, the two frontrunners 
in this weekend's presidential election in 
Paraguay may well represent a new low.
In the far right is the favourite, Horacio 
Cartes, a homophobe who has been jailed after 
accusations of currency fraud, investigated for 
alleged tax evasion and widely accused of drug trafficking.
His main challenger, Efrain Alegre, meanwhile, is 
fighting off claims that his centre-right Liberal 
party used millions of dollars in public funds to 
buy an electoral alliance that gives him an outside chance of an upset.
Unless there is a shock win for one of the other 
candidates – all of whom are far behind – this 
political mud looks likely to stick on a 
government that is something of a pariah in Latin 
America due to its long history of counterfeiting 
and smuggling and the ousting last year of 
Fernando Lugo, its first leftwing president in six decades.
An average of the most recent polls gave a 
six-point lead to Cartes, a 57-year-old tobacco 
grower standing as candidate for the Colorado party.
His popularity appears to have been barely dented 
by a recent homophobic outburst – he said he 
would rather shoot himself in the testicles than 
accept a son who wanted to marry another man – 
and revelations about his shady history, 
including photographs of him in handcuffs in 1980 
when he was charged with currency fraud, a drug 
bust of a plane on his property, and allegations 
in Argentina and Brazil that he is a major source 
of illegal cigarettes in their countries.
"Narco-politics will reign" if Cartes wins, warns 
his ruling party opponent, Alegre, who calls his 
rival "the maximum expression of the smuggling, 
mafia and pirating model" of development.
Alegre's efforts to claim the moral high ground 
have been undermined by reports that the 
government brought $11.5m of land from the father 
of another political leader, Jorge Oviedo, days 
before entering an electoral pact. Rather than 
face impeachment, Oviedo has resigned his post as president of Congress.
This has been campaign gold for Cartes. "You 
can't keep handling public money as if it were 
private," he taunted his rival "We are going to 
put an end to that custom of robbery. It is what has destroyed Paraguay."
Voters may be disillusioned, but many say they 
will cast their ballots according to old 
loyalties. "There's nobody clean in Paraguay," 
said Hugo Díaz, 77, a former farm administrator 
who plans to vote for Alegre, but only because of family allegiances.
Supporters of the Colorado party – the 
traditional party of landowners, the elite and 
those in their patronage – said they expected to 
see better business prospects. The economy, which 
is dependent on soy exports and the manufacture 
of fake goods, slumped into minus territory last 
year but is forecast to achieve double-digit growth in 2013.
"Cartes was a successful businessman," said 
Carlos Acosta, 52, a concierge who was listening 
to a campaign speech on the radio. "There will be economic progress with him."
Acosta is one of nearly two million Colorado 
members, a support base that is the result of 
"patronage and clientelism", said Peter Lambert, 
a specialist in Paraguay at the University of 
Bath. "Access to opportunity in Paraguay still 
comes from allegiance to the Colorado party," he said.
Despite the strong whiff of corruption, the 
chances of smaller party candidates such as Mario 
Ferreiro to make a breakthrough appear slim.
José Morínigo, a pollster and former Lugo 
government official, gave Alegre a 1.9 
percentage-point lead over Cartes. "Money rules 
here," he said. "It's more than likely the 
Liberal and Colorado parties will buy votes. I 
see a limited possibility for a true participatory democracy."

Will Paraguay's presidential election be a 'return to the past'?
Leading candidate Cartes is a member of the 
conservative Colorado Party, which ruled Paraguay 
for 61 years, until 2008. Last year the 
left-leaning president Lugo was impeached.
By Jonathan Gilbert, Correspondent / April 19, 2013
Mr. Cartes is a tobacco magnate who says he will 
modernize the Southern Cone nation. He is 
standing for the Colorado Party, which held a 
grip on power for 61 years before former 
President Fernando Lugo won elections in 2008. 
And with Mr. Lugo controversially impeached last 
year – in what he called a parliamentary coup – a 
shift back to right-wing policies is expected here.
Cartes' closest contender is Efraín Alegre of the 
ruling Liberal Party. He is promising a "happy" 
Paraguay – a play on his surname – by tackling 
poverty. But, like Cartes, he is a conservative 
who observers say will favor business.
While Paraguay is expected to grow by 10 percent 
this year – due in large part to soy and beef 
exports – nearly a third of its people live below 
the poverty line, according to the World Bank. 
Such inequality is highly visible in Asunción, 
where sleek shopping malls contrast with slums 
that line the River Paraguay. More than 80 
percent of land is controlled by two percent of 
the population, peasant movements here say. 
Cartes and Alegre are expected to do little to 
change that, distancing Paraguay from the 
left-wing models of regional neighbors Argentina, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
"Paraguay is facing a step backwards," says 
Asunción-based political analyst Alfredo Boccia. 
"With both candidates we're looking at an absence 
of the state in an almost feudal economic model 
that responds to the interests of landowners and 
the elite. There will be macroeconomic growth, but an accumulation of poverty."

'Reverses in social reforms'
Polls give Cartes a lead of a few percentage 
points over Mr. Alegre, with Mario Ferreiro of 
left-wing coalition Avanza País a distant third. 
Many people say they will vote for Cartes, a 
majority shareholder in more than 20 companies, 
because of his success in business. "He has 
[managed] his companies well, which will bode 
well for him in government," says Eva Amarilla, 
an information technology student.
But it is precisely Cartes' pro-business attitude 
that is expected to produce tensions if he wins. 
Lugo's ousting was provoked by the fatal eviction 
of peasants from land claimed by a Colorado Party 
senator. With Lugo's agrarian reform blocked in 
parliament by conservatives, Cartes would favor 
landowning elites. "Cartes will clash with the 
peasants," says José Morínigo, a pollster and 
former official in the Lugo government.
"The Colorado Party is not reformed," says Peter 
Lambert, a Paraguay specialist at the University 
of Bath in the UK. "With Cartes we can expect 
high levels of land and social inequality, and 
low-quality democracy with a politicization of the judiciary."
Alegre also has the support of the private 
sector. Environmental groups say that the Liberal 
Party post-Lugo has allowed multinationals to 
fast-track new strains of genetically modified 
crops, fiercely opposed by peasants. 
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Name: not available
Type: application/x-ygp-stripped
Size: 162 bytes
Desc: not available
URL: <>
-------------- next part --------------
+44 (0)7786 952037
Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered that shall not be 
revealed; and nothing hid that shall not be made known. What I tell 
you in darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye hear in the 
ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list