Paraguay: Earth and Blood
Violent clash between peasants and police in Paraguay left 15 to 17 dead and 80 wounded and could have taken place in any Latin American country, except Cuba, Uruguay and Venezuela. In other regions there is a repeat of a pattern of rural entrepreneurship and investment of funds that attempt to appropriate public lands belonging to indigenous communities or occupy them.
In so many regions any attempt to resist, protest or any assertion of rights by the traditional owners are answered by armed gangs that did not hesitate to, “kill to take warning”. The attitude of the governments are to ignore the problem while the criminal acts are attributed to the peasants themselves who are defending their lands. This is done in a stance by the Paraguayan government to strengthen its repressive legislation and promote ownership by the oligarchic villagers. In some cases, due to popular pressure, the “authorities” issued a weak formal condemnation of the circumstances.
The International Humanist Party reiterates: “This is typical in most of Latin America; also, in most of Africa. We condemn this type of biased governmental action.”
This incident and massacre is but the most recent among frequent acts of violence that have occurred in Paraguay, particularly in this area of about 2000 hectares in the district of Curuguaty, Canindeyú at the border with Brazil. The farmers were driven to their death at high cost in terms of human lives.
The farm in this case is owned by former Colorado Senator Blas Riquelme, who is said to have used farmers enrolled in the National League camp as assistants and as decoys to provoke a confrontation with police. According to the Humanist Party of Paraguay concerning the victims: “police and innocent peasants were slaughtered for the benefit of the most powerful groups in the country” – to achieve, “a hardening of the laws and the criminalization of social organizations”.
The government’s response was the dismissal of the Interior Minister and the Chief of Police, who were replaced by characters whose names do not matter because they do not mean anything in terms of political direction.
These decisions, inevitably, on the other hand, weaken the already fragile government of Fernando Lugo, whose impeachment was demanded today at the Plaza de Armas, in front of Congress, in a coordinated effort with the media which reinforces the hypothesis that it is a trap!
The International Humanist Party deplores the continuing inhumane actions that cause such deaths and makes an appeal that the country’s citizens should not hesitate to impose alleviating policies and endorses the good repudiation of the Humanist Party of Paraguay to work against, “the impunity with which criminals operate at large from the branches of government, which criminals are protected by a destructive advance, deepening the social and environmental impact of multinational corporate landowners allied violent groups, “who have accumulated so much power that already they have the authority to commit crimes against humanity within legal frameworks that they bend at will.”
The co-ordinating body of the IHP is in full solidarity with the relatives and friends of the victims and shares their pain and urges them to continue to seek justice through nonviolent means.
International Coordinating Team of the International Humanist party