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Here is a recent thorough analysis of some of what the US military (and by extension, the Bush administration) has been up to in Paraguay, "the heart of South America".  Read it and weep.

The author is a journalist in Montevideo, Uruguay.  Raúl Zibechi, a member of the editorial board of the weekly Brecha de Montevideo, is a professor and researcher on social movements at the Multiversidad Franciscana de América Latina and adviser to several grassroots organizations.

The main points he makes are as follows:

- US military Southern Command Strategy in S. America
- Militarization within Paraguay (with US help and training)
- Peasant land movements and soy monoculture

This is a complicated story he explains well.  Many threads to follow.  I have attempted to fill it out with previous and other information on this theme and related issues below the fold.

Soy monoculture and campesinos in PY:

Example article on attack by the coordinator of the Guardia Ciudadana on a citizen (esp):

Cuban exile paramilitary groups training in PY:

There have been stories about this recently, but I haven't been able to find them and any links.  Some help in the comments from anyone who saw this in the news?

US military in PY:
US military gets 18 months' tour with immunity:

A more recent description after the first year:

Our ambassador in Asuncion denies US involvement in killing of 30 campesinos (esp):

...and the director, Luis Aguayo, of the Mesa Coordinadora de Organizaciones Campesinas-MCNOC (Coordinating Board of Campesino Organizations), says he can't confirm the accusation (esp). A DC-10 landed in Foz do Yguzu, Brasil, on the triple Frontier, on Aug 2, 2006.  The US consul in Sao Paolo said it was a "reward" to the mlitray personnel on board, and the papers reported that they went to the Duty Free shops at the airport.

Internal Paraguay Politics
Pedro Fadul, Patria Querida leader, signed the opposition coalition's declaration against the consitutional change that would allow Duarte to be re-elected:

President Duarte's Presidential Secretary, Carlos Liseras, called Fadul "an irredeemable swindler":

I'm not sure where this diary started, nor entirely certain where it encded up, but here is its messy self with linkies to interesting reading.  

Dig, comment, add to it.

I'm concerned on a personal level about our government contributing to the Paraguayan government and the multi-nationals brutalizing and throwing peasants off tthe land.  The country and its people deserve better.  The larger hemisheric and foreign policy concerns and the way this admistration is conducting these cynical actions is of concern to me as a citizen, and I hope also worries others here.

Previous DKos diaries on South America/Paraguay/US policy (mine and others'):
"Evo Morales Wins and Bush's New Bird Shit War"
by Chris Kulczycki:

profmarcus: "i've been following this for a while
back in mid-august [2005], i posted this...

i've been posting for some time now on the u.s. moves to reestablish influence and control in latin america... i talked about how paraguay was being groomed as a new location for u.s. military bases... now, rummy visits asuncion... and, of course, paraguay, with its stunted economy would like u.s. bases... what an economic boost...! but, awwwww, shit...

        Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, arriving in this South American capital Tuesday, said countries in the region should help strengthen democracy in Bolivia and suggested that governments in Cuba and Venezuela have been involved in Bolivia in "unhelpful ways."

        Rumsfeld's brief trip is aimed at reinforcing ties with regional democracies as they fight political instability, terrorism and drug trafficking, defense officials said. Rumsfeld will also visit Peru.

        Increasing political problems in Bolivia, which borders Paraguay to the northwest, have been fostered by Cuban and Venezuelan authorities, U.S. officials contend.

    is this stage-setting or what...?

looks like things are moving right along... with morales' election yesterday, i imagine things will pick up steam...
visit my blog: And, yes, I DO take it personally

by profmarcus on Mon Dec 19, 2005 at 10:06:43 AM CDT"

My previous PY/S. America  diaries:

...and some additional links and tidbits from it:

1, the case of the kidnaapping, holding for ransom ($3m paid), and subsequent murder of Cecilia Cubas Gusinky, the daughter of ex-president Raúl Cubas Grau, in 2005.  The trial begins April 17 for 15 members of the gang responsible, with supposed radical left political leanings.

2, There were reports of guerrilas operating in the east of the country, related to the murder of a poice officer:  This was related to the Cubas kidnap-murder case, with some of the same people involved in both.

3,  A group of Israeli-Russians were arrested trying to smuggle money in to the country and start a money-laundering business. Gregory Lerner (55) and Arieh Sergei Smolianitski (50), arrested with 1.5 m Euros and $115,000 US.  They are to be extradited to Israel:

4,  There are "citizen baton" groups extorting money for "protecting" residents and businesses in Ciudad del Este.

5,  A fellow was caught importing AK-47s to Paraguay:  
Axel Hans Bendlin, proprietor of a business called Hunter, S.A.  Mr. Bendlin asked in July 2003 that the military's Office of Military Materiel give him authorization to import 500 sport hunting rifles, 7.62 x 39 mm caliber, with 500 magazines of 20 rounds.  The arms were manufactured in Bulgaria, and were to have shipped via Turkey and Germany to Mr. Bendlin in Paraguay.

The shipment was intercepted and inspected in Istanbul, and LO! it contained, not hunting rifles, but AK-47s!  And, yes, 500 magazines, but each with 1,000 rounds!
Special thanks to the following and for their past interest in Latin America.  Any comments to add from you all?

richard cranium, pinche tejano, soj, Myrrander, peacemonger, Central Scrutinizer, litho, xanthe, dnamj, and others I've no doubt left out.

Originally posted to tom 47 on Tue Aug 29, 2006 at 02:55 PM PDT.

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