THE DESTABILIZATION OF PARAGUAY: A COUP TO THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
By Javiera Manuela Ruli and Reto Sonderegger, Global Research
Friday night June 22, 2012
Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo has just been removed from office by Congress through political impeachment, an express trial that lasted only 24 hours. This manoeuvre must be seen as a coup to the democratic process started in 2008. Social movements are protesting in front of Congress as well as in various parts of the country.
This plot by the major Paraguayan political parties has to be interpreted as the last step of a process of political destabilization in the country started with the massacre of Curuguaty last June 15th.
The facts from Curuguaty seem to show a high-level plot and operation by the opposition. The massacre that occurred in a camp of the landless peasants during a police operation left a toll of 17 dead, 11 peasants and 6 police officers, and 80 wounded. There are 54 people arrested facing very serious charges.
We will try to explain now the chain of events that have shaken the country from the Curuguaty deaths to Lugo’s overthrow today.
Background to the Curuguaty events
The Canindeyú department in the northeast part of Paraguay is a border region with Brazil with a high concentration of land in the hands of soy agribusinesses, marijuana cultivation and drugs and weapons smuggling.
Blas N. Riquelme is one of the richest people in the country, former Colorado Senator, large landowner with supermarket chains and many other food companies. Blas N. Riquelme was fraudulently given 50 thousand hectares of land, which were meant for poor peasants of the agrarian reform, during the Stroessner Dictatorship in 1969. This case of ill-gotten land was reported in the Report of the Truth and Justice Commission in 2008.
Since the fall of the Dictatorship in 1989, local peasants have been fighting to get these lands back. Two months ago a group of 60 landless peasants occupied two thousand hectares of the lands in an area called Marina Cue. These people did not belong to any specific peasant organization.
The Curuguaty massacre
On Friday June 15, two groups of law enforcement officers, the GEO Special forces and the police, entered Marina Cue with only a search warrant. The first group went to the camp to talk with the peasants. The police group suspiciously positioned itself behind. Surprisingly, in a confused event, long distance shots were fired. The first persons to fall were the chief and the deputy chief of the GEO forces.
During the ensuing battle, helicopters with reinforcements from the Special Operations Forces arrived and dispersed the peasants with flamethrowers and tear gas. The result of the battle was 11 peasants and 6 policemen dead.
In the first 24 hours after these events, police and soldiers surrounded and closed the area not letting anybody in. A first group of human rights advocates from Asuncion was detained by the police for several hours. In the Capital peasant leaders remained on alert, and in Curuguaty locals complained of law enforcement hunting down all survivors of the gunfight and any peasant activists in the area. Police burned the camp, erasing all evidence. During this period no prosecutors entered the area to observe what happened and collect evidence. It is assumed that during this time the police removed dead bodies and destroyed any proof.
Injured people, who went to health centers, were detained and placed in isolation cells in police stations. Some relatives and local people, who went to the health centers or to the police stations in order to get information on the victims, were also arrested. Lawyers and human rights organizations were not allowed access. […]
[…] Lugo hands over the repressive apparatus to the Colorados
Because of what happened in Curuguaty, Lugo replaced Interior Minister Carlos Filizzola naming as his replacement the former Attorney General, Candia Amarilla. During his tenure as State Prosecutor, Amarilla was characterized by his persecution and criminalization of social sectors.
Amarilla was trained in Colombia and is one of the promoters of the implementation of Plan Colombia in Paraguay. He is also a member of the Colorado Party. To make matters worse, Lugo replaced the National Director of Police and put in his place the chief who was in charge of the police operation in Curuguaty, the Commissioner Moran Arnaldo Sanabria. Both officials are publicly rejected by the social movements and several political sectors. Amarilla announced the end of the “protocol” in eviction operations, implemented by the previous Minister, consisting of dialogue with civil society organizations prior to operations. Amarilla states that his mandate will be the enforcement of the law with a strong arm.
With these two appointments, Lugo hands over the repressive apparatus into the hands of the Colorado Party. It is evident that he negotiated these nominations to avoid political impeachment. However, by doing this, he got the Liberal Party against him, which in turn negotiated with the Colorado Party and the Oviedistas to carry out the political impeachment. […]
* DOWNED TURKISH JET PRETEXT FOR NEW PROVOCATIONS AGAINST SYRIA
By Joseph Kishore
Led by the United States, the major powers have issued a series of bellicose statements and threats after Syria shot down a Turkish F4 Phantom jet that had entered its airspace. Backed by the Obama administration, the Turkish government has taken actions that mark a major step in the direction of all-out war.
Representatives of NATO countries will participate today in a meeting called under Article 4 of the alliance convention, which provides for discussion between members on joint action against a threat.
While the meeting is not being held under Article 5, which calls for military action of all NATO members, Turkey said on Monday it would press NATO to consider Article 5 at the meeting. It is also the first time Article 4 has been invoked since Turkey did so against Iraq in February 2003—one month before the US-led invasion.
After speaking with the US over the weekend, Turkey shifted from its initially more measured tone. “It was an act of war,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Selcuk Unal said Monday. Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc added that Turkey will use “all rights granted under international law until the end. This also includes self-defense. This also includes retaliation many-fold.” […]
[…] Syria is the latest target of a campaign to undermine or overthrow governments that the US deems, for one reason or another, to be a hindrance to its control of the Middle East and Central Asia. It has led wars against Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, and has rained drone missiles down on Pakistan and Yemen. At the same time, it is involved with Israel in a covert program of assassination and cyber warfare against Iran. […]
* ROBERT MUNDELL, EVIL GENIUS OF THE EURO
For the architect of the euro, taking macroeconomics away from elected politicians and forcing deregulation were part of the plan
By Greg Palast, Guardian UK
[…] The euro would really do its work when crises hit, Mundell explained. Removing a government’s control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession.
“It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians,” he said. “[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.”
He cited labor laws, environmental regulations and, of course, taxes. All would be flushed away by the euro. Democracy would not be allowed to interfere with the marketplace – or the plumbing.
THE FORCES OF “STABILITY” WIN IN GREECE; SOCIAL DISINTEGRATION CONTINUES
By Kostis Karpozilos, Truthout
“I ask the Greek people to demonstrate their patriotism, national unity, and trust that with the help of god we can do our best to exit this crisis as soon as possible.” This first official statement of Antonis Samaras, the winner of the elections on Sunday, marks Greece’s entrance into a twilight zone of renewed conservatism. The right-wing New Democracy managed to win the elections—gaining 30 percent of the popular vote and 129 seats in parliament—and now has formed a coalition government with the participation of the center-left PASOK, which won 12 percent of the vote and thirty-three seats, and the moderate Democratic Left, at 6 percent with seventeen seats.
To those unfamiliar with the situation in Greece, this might seem a strange coalition of forces, but it is not; over the last months these three parties had formed an unofficial group centered on the idea that Greece should remain in the Eurozone at all costs, while striving to reform the memoranda that have been negotiated with the European Central Bank and the IMF. Their cooperation after the election demonstrates how a new polarization around these “bailout” agreements has altered the dominant political dichotomies of the past.
The election results also reflect Greece’s rising social polarization due to the disintegrating effects of the depression. The relatively crisis-immune agrarian Greece, elite and upper-middle-class suburbs, pensioners, and housewives voted for New Democracy. SYRIZA, the leftist coalition that transformed the Greek political scene and gained 27 percent in this election, was supported by the working-class neighborhoods of Athens and Piraeus, along with those that have less to lose and not much to hope for—the youth, civil servants, and small businesspeople competing with “big business.” These are two worlds apart: voters for New Democracy and its partners wanted stability, feared the exodus of Greece from the Eurozone, and detested the leftist rhetoric of SYRIZA; the others were united in their opposition to the memorandum, but from various standpoints—from the radical Left to those who wanted to express their despair but cared less about a specific political program. At the end of the day, the “silent majority” for stability prevailed. Only some dozens of supporters of New Democracy were in Syntagma Square to applaud Samaras upon his victory. […]
* GENE SHARP: A DICTATOR’S WORST NIGHTMARE
By Mairi Mackay, CNN
[…] His practical manual on how to overthrow dictatorships, “From Dictatorship to Democracy,” has spread like a virus since he wrote it 20 years ago and has been translated by activists into more than 30 languages.
He has also listed “198 Methods of Nonviolent Action” — powerful, sometimes surprising, ways to tear power from the hands of regimes. Examples of their use by demonstrators and revolutionaries pop up over and over again. […]
[…] His ideas of revolution are based on an elegantly simple premise: No regime, not even the most brutally authoritarian, can survive without the support of its people. So, Sharp proposes, take it away.
Nonviolent action, he says, can eat away at a regime’s pillars of power like termites in a tree. Eventually, the whole thing collapses.
For a half century, Sharp has refined the theory of nonviolent conflict and crafted the tools of his trade. His methods have liberated millions from tyranny — and that makes regimes from Myanmar to Iran quake in their boots. […]