10 September 2012 | Interviews | Land grabbing | Social activists at risk | Human Rights and International Solidarity Mission | No to the coup d’état in Paraguay | Resisting neoliberalism | Human rights | Food Sovereignty
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Nearly 50 days ago several peasants arrested during the Curuguaty massacre, who were imprisoned in Coronel Oviedo, in Caaguazu department, began a hunger strike. Two of them, Felipe Nery Urbina and Juan Carlos Tilleria, are in delicate health condition. It has been five months since the killing of 11 landless peasants and six police officers.
Attorney Vicente Morales, who is representing several detainees, told Radio Ñanduti of Paraguay that Tilleria and Urbina “say they are waiting to die. They no longer believe in anyone and they refuse to hear anything about justice or lawyers”.
In early September, Real World Radio visited the prison of Coronel Oviedo, as part of an international mission of solidarity and spoke with the detainees who were arrested in the Curuguaty massacre on June 15. There follows an excerpt of the interview with Urbina, including the translation from Guarani into Spanish of leaders Luiz Ruiz, of the Organization of Struggle for Land (OLT) of Paraguay, Magui Balbuena, of the National Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Women Workers (CONAMURI) and a remark of Tilleria himself.
Urbina is a political leader who claims he was not in Marina Cue tract of land on June 15, in Canindeyu department, but he had attended a meeting in Curuguaty, nearly 35 km away. According to his account, he was walking through Route 10 where he saw the police about to enter Marina Cue. There he saw Arnaldo Quintana asking for help. He had a serious bullet injury in his stomach. He tried to help him but the police
Urbina told Real World Radio that he was tortured and that they threatened to kill him far from the landless peasant camp. He was in hospital for three days, where he continued to receive death threats from police officers. The peasant, his lawyer and neighbors of the area claim he was not in Marina Cue and demand his release. But the damages to his eyes (certified by a doctor) caused by the tear gases incriminated him, because it would indicate he was in the place of the massacre. He explained he was sprayed when he was stopped at the route to plant him evidence.
On June 15, nearly 50 peasants including women and children, were occupying the tract of land of Marina Cue, nearly 5 km off Route 10. The peasants say the disputed land belongs to the state and it should be destined for the agrarian reform, but it is illegally occupied by Campos Morombi and agriculture and cattle raising company which, at the time of the occupation belonged to former lawmaker of the Colorado party Blas Riquelme, who died on September 2.
At around 8am of June 15, an operation organized with 400 police officers, including special riot police, a helicopter, nearly 20 patrols and several ambulances, advanced over the land and triggered the disaster: 11 peasants and six police officers were killed, and dozens of others were injured. 12 people were arrested.
The judiciary then prosecuted 54 people because they were part of a list found by the police made by the peasants of Marina Cue of fellow activists that wanted lands. Some of them were not even there that day. Tens of the people wanted by the police
Photo: National Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Women Workers (CONAMURI).
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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