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The Human Rights and International Solidarity Mission with Paraguay is in Curuguaty, where a massacre against peasants took place in June that lead to president Fernando Lugo’s ousting.
There are meetings planned with the families of the victims and with communities organized in the region, as well as with state human rights groups in order to draft a report that will account for the human rights violations in terms of access to and the right to food, to be submitted before multilateral agencies such as UNASUR, the OAS and the United Nations.
“Over two months after the incidents there is still impunity and uncertainty. Our mission is to support this process and to move forward towards finding answers, since there won’t be a solution for the peasants who are dead. But we can at least find justice and demand an investigation of the incidents, the release of the jailed peasants, and a compensation for the families of the victims” Magui Balbuena told Real World Radio.
Magui is leader of the National Coordination of Rural and Indigenous Women (Conamuri), a member of La Via Campesina Paraguay and part of the Mission. On our way to Canindeyu department, Magui described the territory as a big space colonized by the soya agribusiness, where the Paraguayan state has no power, but it is an area controlled by businessmen. “The area is virtually dominated by Brazilian agribusiness businessmen”, she said.
After the massacre the area has remained militarized. In spite of this, the families and friends of the murdered peasants are still camping there waiting for the Paraguayan state to take actions.
Magui said that extreme poverty, illiteracy, concentration of lands are some of the heritage left by the four decades of military dictatorship under Alfredo Stroessner’s rule, whose political heirs are the parties that support Federico Franco’s regime.
The coup d’état left no room for Paraguayan social organizations, she said. An example of this is the case of Magui herself. Together with other social leaders, she faces a criminal trial for purported blocking of roads in Caaguazu department while she was participating in demonstrations against the coup staged by the Parliament.
The total lack of legal guarantees makes Magui’s fate uncertain.
The mission of solidarity with Paraguay is made up by member organizations of the Latin American Coordination of Countryside Organizations- Via Campesina, the Service for Peace and Justice, Friends of the Earth Paraguay and BASE, as well as foreign delegations such as FIAN International, the Human Rights Research and Sustainability Group of the UNESCO chair at the Universidad Politécnica de Cataluña, Real World Radio (FoE International) and the Global Campaign for the Agrarian Reform.
Magui also talked about the need to raise awareness about the Paraguayan situation at a regional and global level, since the local media are involved in a campaign of criminalizing the social struggle, even more so after the coup.
On November 22 there will be an Ethical Trial against the Paraguayan Congress because of breach of their constitutional, political and ethical duties that led to Lugo’s ousting.
Paraguay continues to be internationally isolated. Its membership from Mercosur has been suspended and there are very few countries in the region that have recognized Franco’s government.
The Mission is planned to end on September 12. CLOC and the Social Movements Towards ALBA have already done missions after the Curuguaty incidents.
Photo: Valter Da Silva (MPA-Brasil)
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