Upside Down Notebook

Putting the street into the notebook. By Ben Dangl

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Valentine’s Day in Paraguay

February 21st, 2007 · No Comments

The road from Argentina to Paraguay was blocked by “Indians demanding land” in a town called “Resistencia.” That’s what the bus driver said when I arrived here a couple of weeks ago. In Ciudad del Este, Paraguay, most of the cars had tinted windows, the private security in front of shops had loaded guns, and the streets were as full of conspiracies and rumors as pirated DVDs and sunglasses. Real guns and fake musical condoms were also for sale in the city’s humid, market streets. Though Paraguay lacks access to the sea, it contains various oceans inside its borders – oceans of soy crops. The pesticides used in this booming industry give local campesinos headaches, cancer and birth defects. The chemicals used also make the cows and the soil infertile. The heat in Asuncion was enough to melt the roof off while we watched a boxing match on Estados Unidos street. We were planning to go to a town near Concepcion but the road was flooded over. Mennonites dressed exactly like they are in Pennsylvania sat down next to us in a café. The hotel’s fan transformed the sun into a strobe light, and all the flowers were on sale on Valentine’s Day in Paraguay.


You have probably noticed the giant ad on the front page of Upside Down World for my book, The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. It has been published and released from AK Press! Please check out this snazzy promotional/informational website that I made for the book. It has information on the book, where you can order it from and all about the upcoming book tour. Visit

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