The mobilizations under the slogan #UnaNoTeCalles (UNA don’t be silent) have led to the removal of a large part of the corrupt hierarchy of the National University of Asunción (UNA); a hierarchy of university administration, and corrupt authorities tied to the old superstructure of power.
In Paraguay, the #somosobservadores campaign is moving forward with its campaign to bring attention to the victims of the Curuguaty massacre, a violent attack on farmworkers by special operations police forces that occurred three years ago in June of 2012.
Two years after the fall of the Fernando Lugo government and one year after the rise of Horacio Cartes of the Colorado party, social movements show signs of rebuilding, with remarkable leadership of the campesino movement facing agribusiness and repression.
Paraguayan President Horacio Cartes is seen by many as a stalwart neoliberal and his failure to reach an agreement with opposition parties led to the March general strike. The strike was the country’s first general strike in 20 years, and only the third in Paraguay’s history.
“More than 20 years after being expelled from our ancestral land and living [in camps] along the side of the road, watching the cows occupy the place where we used to live, we decided to return because that land is ours,” the Sawhoyamaxa said in a message accompanying the petition drive.
On August 23, Paraguayans woke up to news that resembled more the days of Stroessner’s dictatorship than those of a developing democracy. On August 22, Paraguay’s Congress had granted the newly inaugurated President Cartes power to unilaterally order military interventions inside the country. […]
The installation of Canadian mining company Rio Tinto Alcan in Paraguay is creating a face-off between those who see it as an opportunity for development and those who denounce its environmental risks. Rio Tinto has plants around the world, but it is accused of polluting sources of drinking water and devastating natural landscapes.
Instead of dealing with land problems, the government’s attention will be on keeping social conflict from growing in the cities, for which they’ll invent new ways to criminalize the urban poor by creating job sources that do not lead to work security, but rather to things like encouraging the maquiladora sector and deregulating the workplace. The issues of land and farmworker resistance will be treated in the same way they have for decades; that is, through persecution and repression.
South America’s newest president has a checkered past, and a huge personal fortune. School of the Americas Watch, which sent a delegation to observe the elections, expressed concern at Horacio Cartes’ sympathy for the dictatorship, his public disdain for queer people, and his seemingly totalitarian aspirations.