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Sat Nov 21, 2020, 03:29 AM

Paraguay: Corruption And Violation Of Human Rights - OpEd

November 21, 2020
By Peter Tase

. . .

On another front, Paraguayan Supreme Court leadership have not provided legal support nor respected human rights when it comes to improving the wellbeing of indigenous communities in Paraguay, including the Guaraní, Ayoreo, Toba-Maskoy, Aché and Sanapaná communities in Caaguazú, San Pedro and other provinces. Lack of documentation among indigenous teenagers and adults, should in no case be a barrier to the highest quality of healthcare. Indigenous people are less likely to carry an ID document in Paraguay, and they are totally subjugated from the government officials in the country, as the latter have a vested interest to turn indigenous communities’ ecosystem and forests into arable land and transgenic soy plantations. Consequentially, Indigenous population is decimated in the country, has become ever more vulnerable and is not able to access various social programs and receive healthcare treatment.

With the ongoing public health pandemic; all COVID-19 care should be provided free of charge to those who cannot afford to pay; and indigenous communities in Concepcion, San Pedro and Amambay, are extremely vulnerable and have not access to public health services nor basic hygiene resources.

In Paraguay, indigenous women can access maternal health care less than other women and some of these women have expressed concern about the fact that cost is a factor in securing a good medical treatment. Another pending matter is the lack of information resources made available to indigenous communities in their own language (to prevent disease and fatigue) ; for example in rural Paraguay there are no health care materials available in Guarani language nor in Ache or Ayoreo indigenous languages.

The Government of Mario Abdo Benítez has not pursued policies that improve nutrition and access to food among indigenous communities and their kids, while it is publicly known that the Ayoreo and other communities are living in extreme poverty situations and their kids have become vulnerable to child labor, sexual abuse and other psychological disorders. The National Strategy for the Prevention and Eradication of Child Labor and Protection of Teenage Workers is simply a grossly ignored policy that is not being implemented.

Paraguay continues to be a failed state, its leaders have become a laughing stock in the world stage while its rural indigenous communities, although deeply succumbed into poverty, are the nation’s only source of dignity, ethics and moral when it comes to respect for the rule of law and their willingness to consolidate democratic governance; meanwhile Paraguay’s Supreme Court is ruled by some of the worst and corrupt judges of Latin America and the country’s Former Vice President has died in captivity since late September 2020, meanwhile local media refuses to acknowledge this fact. Asuncion needs a new breed of leaders that are encouraged by patriotism, hard work, by a great sense of integrity and ethics.


~ ~ ~

Paraguay was ruled for 35 years by a fascist dictator, Alfredo Stroessner, with the blessings of the U.S., particularly the right-wing.


Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda (Spanish: [alˈfɾeðo estɾozˈneɾ]; November 3, 1912 – August 16, 2006) was a Paraguayan Army officer who was dictator of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989. He ascended to the position after leading an army coup in 1954. His 35-year-long rule, marked by an uninterrupted period of repression in his country, is the longest in modern South American history.

. . .

Soon after taking office, Stroessner declared a state of siege, which allowed him to suspend civil liberties. The state-of-siege provisions allowed the government to arrest and detain anyone indefinitely without trial, as well as forbid public meetings and demonstrations. It was renewed every 90 days until 1987, except for a brief period in 1959. Although it technically only applied to Asunción after 1970, the courts ruled that anyone charged with security offenses could be brought to the capital and charged under the state-of-siege provisions—even if the offense took place outside the capital.[2][3] Apart from one 24-hour period on election days, Stroessner ruled under what amounted to martial law for nearly all of his tenure. A devoted anti-communist who brought Paraguay into the World Anti-Communist League, he justified his repression as a necessary measure to protect the country.

Paraguay enjoyed close military and economic ties with the United States and supported the US invasion of the Dominican Republic.[4] The Stroessner regime even offered to send troops to Vietnam alongside the Americans.[5] The United States played a "critical supporting role" in the domestic affairs of Stoessner's Paraguay.[6] Between 1962 and 1975 the US provided $146 million to Paraguay's military government and Paraguayan officers were trained at the US Army School of the Americas.[7] Although the military and security forces under Stroessner received less material support from the United States than other South American countries, strong inter-military connections existed through military advisors and military training. Between 1962 and 1966, nearly 400 Paraguayan military personnel were trained by the United States in the Panama Canal Zone and on US soil.[8] Strong Paraguayan-U.S. relations continued until the Carter Administration emphasized a foreign policy that recognized human rights abuses, although both military and economic aid were allotted to the Paraguayan government in Carter's budgets.[9] The Reagan Administration restored more cordial relations due to Stroessner's staunch anti-communism, but by the mid 1980s relations cooled, largely because of the international outcry over the regime's excesses, along with its involvement in narcotics trafficking and money-laundering.[10][11][12] In 1986, The Reagan administration added his regime to its list of Latin American dictatorships.[13]

. . .

Operation Condor
Paraguay was a leading participant in Operation Condor, a campaign of state terror and security operations officially implemented in 1975 which were jointly conducted by the military dictatorships of six South American countries (Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil) with the support of the United States.[21][22][23][24] Human rights violations characteristic of those in other South American countries such as kidnappings, torture, forced disappearances and extrajudicial killings were routine and systematic during the Stroessner regime. Following executions, many of the bodies of those killed by the regime were dumped in the Chaco or the Río Paraguay. The discovery of the "Archives of Terror" in 1992 in the Lambaré suburb of Asunción confirmed allegations of widespread human rights violations.[25]

Pastor Coronel was the chief of the Department of Investigations, or secret police. He would interview people in a pileta, a bath of human vomit and excrement, or ram electric cattle prods up their rectums.[26][27][11] In 1975, the Secretary of the Paraguayan Communist Party, Miguel Ángel Soler [es], was dismembered alive with a chainsaw while Stroessner listened on the phone.[26][28][29][30] The screams of tortured dissidents would often be recorded and played over the phone to family members, and sometimes the bloody garments of those killed were sent to their homes.[14]

Under Stroessner, egregious human rights violations were committed against the Aché Indian population of Paraguay's eastern districts, largely as the result of U.S. and European corporations wanting access to the country's forests, mines and grazing lands.[31][7] The Aché Indians resided on land that was coveted and had resisted relocation attempts by the Paraguayan army. The government retaliated with massacres and forced many Aché into slavery. In 1974 the UN accused Paraguay of slavery and genocide. Only a few hundred Aché remained alive by the late 1970s.[7] The Stroessner regime financed this genocide with U.S. aid.[7]


~ ~ ~

In Paraguay, a Quaint Inn with a Dark Nazi Past
By Paolo Manzo / La Stampa Thursday, Nov. 03, 2011

SAN BERNARDINO — Experiencing the Nazi legacy in South America costs just $40. This is the rate to spend a night in the best room of the Hotel del Lago, founded in 1888 on the shores of the Ypacaraí Lake, in Paraguay, in the small town of San Bernardino, 50 kilometers east of the country's capital, Asuncion.

(Read a brief history of Nazi fugitives.)
Given that Paraguay does not have access to the sea, the lake is the trendiest destination for a vacation. San Bernardino, however, is notorious as the place that sheltered Joseph Mengele, the Angel of the Death, a German SS officer and physician in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau.

After Germany's defeat in World War II, Mengele fled to South America where he hid for decades.

According to unproven theories, Mengele, one of the most wanted Nazi war criminals, died in San Bernardino, not in Brazil, as usually reported. Regardless, there are plenty of other phantoms from the past in this small town, which was founded in 1881 by five German families, and still hosts a German Mennonite colony.

The hotel is still very popular and has a cultural center that promotes local craftsmanship. But behind its quiet façade and tropical setting, this village hides a long string of connections with Nazism.

. . .


~ ~ ~

By Alan Riding
June 16, 1985

IF forensic experts prove that a body exhumed here 10 days ago is that of the Auschwitz death camp doctor Josef Mengele, as his son, Rolf, affirmed last week, the most-wanted Nazi would have lived in South America for 30 years without being caught. If the bones are not his, Dr. Mengele could still be at large.

In either case, he was not alone. Tens of thousands of Nazis escaped to Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Bolivia and Brazil after World War II. In 40 years, one war criminal was murdered, another was kidnapped and just three were extradited to face trial in Europe. Dr. Mengele was widely hunted, but Brazilian police believe he lived undisturbed in the Sao Paulo area from 1961. Other fugitives, many in their 70's and 80's, have little reason for fear.

The Nazi flight to South America was no accident. Large, long-established German colonies quickly absorbed the new wave of immigrants. Some Nazis changed their names, yet surprisingly few felt a need to do so. Many fared well on farms, in industry - not infrequently in West German multinational companies - and even occasionally as police and military advisers.

The political mood was not hostile. Responding to domestic fascist movements, several governments leaned toward Germany and Italy until their defeat became certain. Even after the war, pro-Nazi sympathies survived. Argentina's President Juan D. Peron welcomed fleeing Nazis. When General Peron was ousted in 1955, Gen. Alfredo Stroessner, the grandson of Bavarian immigrants, opened Paraguay to the fugitives.

During his early years in the region, even Dr. Mengele felt safe. He arrived in Buenos Aires in 1949 and made little attempt to hide his identity. He was married under his own name in Uruguay in 1958 and, as ''Jose Mengele'' in 1959, became a citizen of Paraguay, where he lived briefly in a German colony and was befriended by local Nazi sympathizers.


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Reply Paraguay: Corruption And Violation Of Human Rights - OpEd (Original post)
Judi Lynn Nov 2020 OP
WyLoochka Nov 2020 #1
Judi Lynn Nov 2020 #2

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Nov 21, 2020, 08:34 AM

1. Great work putting this together, Judi Lynn

Important to be alerted to the continuing sufferings of the indigenous peoples of Paraguay.

The history is a chilling reminder of nazi influences and decades of right wing oppression and control of Paraguay as well as a wide swath of other South American countries.

Always look forward to your informative pieces.

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Response to WyLoochka (Reply #1)

Sun Nov 22, 2020, 02:04 AM

2. It's tremendous if the information can be of interest.

There's so much we have to find out what seems far too long after it happens, as it NEVER gets covered by our own molded-for-mass-consumption, perception-managed "news" media. They stick totally close to what the State Department would want them to cover, unfortunately.

Seems a shame it has worked out that way, considering it's the US taxpayers funding the government, only to have the very same government determinging what is acceptable for the citizens here to know!

Thank you, very much, for your comment, WyLoochka!

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