Paraguay

Land of utopian dreams

“Under [former President Fernando] Lugo, the economic inequality, deficit in democracy, and marginalization of movements and dissenting voices [was] maintained, albeit with a president who represented more of a “populist” veneer than his predecessors. This contradiction aided the Right and confused and aggravated Lugo’s voter base. “It’s good for the oligarchy if Lugo stays in power and does nothing,” said Paraguayan activist Leticia Galeano, referring to the fact that the Right and the elite have benefited from Lugo’s time in office, while the work of grassroots movements in the country has been ignored or repressed under his watch.”
—Ben Dangl,  from his  introduction to the  Paraguay chapter of Until the Rulers Obey

Demonstration in Asunción, Paraguay in support of the victims of the 2004 fire in the Ycua Bolaños supermarket. Photo by Clifton Ross. Nearly 400 people died inside the market when the owners allegedly sealed the doors to prevent looting The banner is striped like the Paraguayan flag and bears images of the dead.
Demonstration in Asunción, Paraguay in support of the victims of the 2004 fire in the Ycua Bolaños supermarket. Photo by Clifton Ross. Nearly 400 people died inside the market when the owners allegedly sealed the doors to prevent looting The banner is striped like the Paraguayan flag and bears images of the dead.

Interviews in this chapter:
Oscar Caceres/ ex-Secretary General, Secretariat of Information and Communication for Development (SICOM)
‘The Guaraní utopia is the construction of a unity of a people built from the inside.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Hipólito Acevei and Emiliano Vera/Coordination for the Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples (CAPI)
‘For indigenous people power is collective, it’s constructive and something that benefits everyone equally.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Jorge Galeano/ President of Movimiento agrario y popular ( Popular and Agrarian Movement, MAP)
‘That person who works to produce food in a social fashion
. . .is a subversive in the neoliberal economic system.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Liz Becker/ Social and Popular Front (Frente Social y Popular (FSP)
‘The social struggles have been intensely criminalized.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Francisco Estigarribia/ Member of National Coordination of Adolescent and Children Workers, CONNAT
‘We understood work as something natural, but also something that lent dignity to one’s personal life, from childhood all the way to old age.’
Interview and translation by Clifton Ross, August 2008

Marielle Palau/ Base Investigaciones Sociales (Base Social Research)
‘The coup was aimed at facilitating the actions of large corporations.’
Interview by Clifton Ross, October, 2012. Translation by Luis Ballesteros.

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