Political and social crisis in Paraguay

On August 15, 2008, Fernando Lugo was officially and formally inaugurated as president of Paraguay. In his inaugural speech, he clearly positioned himself on the side of the socially weak and excluded. The following day he traveled with the Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to the inauguration of Jose Ledesma 'Pakova' (Guarani for banana since Jose is a banana grower), a long-standing political ally of Lugo's, as the new governor of San Pedro, a department which has dealt with many land conflicts.

SPP denuncia agresión a la libertad de ejercicio de la profesión

El Sindicato de Periodistas del Paraguay (SPP), denuncia la alevosa y desvergonzada violación al libre ejercicio de la profesión de periodista así como a las libertades de prensa y comunicación ejercida por el Ministerio Público contra el colega estadounidense Evans Abramson.

El colega Abramson visitó hoy viernes 31 de octubre, la localidad de San Isidro, distrito de Los Cedrales, Alto Paraná, con el fin de hacer un reportaje sobre la producción de soja y la ocupación que realizaron unos 2.000 campesinos sin tierra de una hacienda de la empresa alemana IVP, quien la alquila a la Agrosol.

Esta ocupación de tierra fue reprimida por policías y fiscales la semana pasada y, tras el desalojo, fueron detenidos más de 100 hombres, mujeres y niños.

Video news from Paraguay: fumigations, land struggle and the agro-export model.

[img_assist|nid=364|title=Cover Video News Paraguay|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=150|height=116]During the 2008-09 soy season, tension and conflicts increased in Paraguay. Within the new political context, social movements increased pressure for what they have been fighting for, especially land reform and food sovereignty. Changes were visible, such as the change in the direction of the national land reform institute, INDERT. Nevertheless repression and criminalisation of the campesino movement continues, as the violent evictions of land occupations and the assassination of campesino leader Bienvenido Melgarejo on October 4th prove.

An international team of LaSojaMata was filming and documenting various events during October 2009 and january 2009. The made video news, reflects this new political conjuncture and the seize of conflicts in Paraguay. The video reports are listed below and include testimonies on fumigations, land struggles and other relevant issues. A compilation DVD was made in Spanish. English, Dutch and German follow

Justice at last in Silvino Talavera case: soy farmers will go to jail

At last, after many years of legal battle, the appelation court in Encarnación has confirmed the sentence against the two soy farmers who caused the death of 11-years old Silvino Talavera by agrochemicals: they will go to jail!

Compañeros y compañeras,

Se acuerdan, que tras la confirmación de la condena a dos años de cárcel para los responsables de la muerte de Silvino Talavera, el Juez penal de Ejecución de Ejecución, abogado Quintín Cardozo, había dispuesto la ejecución a prueba de la condena. Es decir, a pesar de estar condenados no iban a ir a la cárcel. Habíamos apelado esa decisión y remitido montón de cartas al juez de ejecución y al tribunal para rechazar el pedido, pues no se ajustaba a derecho.

Slideshow on peasant resistance to soy expansion in Paraguay

An outline of the impacts of soy monoculture expansion in Paraguay which causes the disappearance of rural communities as soy expansion is the main driver of the expulsion of Paraguayan campesinos by force or by the deteriation of their living conditions.

click to view slideshow

Background article
Farmers struggle in Paraguay against expanding soy cultivation

The huge increase of soy fields is expulsing small scale farmers from their lands in Paraguay, but also in Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. Some even speak about a soy-tsunami that is submerging farmer communities. The expansion of soy cultivation goes along with a widely spread violation of human rights. The production is mainly used as animal feed for the meat production in Europe and China. Recently also agro-energy increases the demand for soy and other crops.

Soja Mata on Tour

[img_assist|nid=181|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=150|height=79]During the whole month of May A SEED, CEO and the Movimiento Agrario y Popular, with the support of BASE.IS crossed through various European countries on an info-tour. Below the name 'la soja mata' or soy (we understand large scale soy cultivation) kills' info-evenings, meetings, action and filmfestivals were helt in which there was a focuss on large scale soy cultivation, genetechnology, agrofuels and resistance.
Central in this tour was Gilda Roa, representative of the Paraguayan peasant organisation MAP (Movimiento Agrario y Popular).
slideshow and background on soy expansion in Paraguay and resistance of MAP
pictures from the tour
overview of press atention during tour

Attacked Campesino Leader in Stable Condition

Written by Arturo Peña, translated by April Howard: Pedro Silva is the active campesino leader from the Lima District, in the province of San Pedro, and member of the Provincial Coordinator in Defense of Sovereignty, a front that opposes the advance of soy monoculture in the area,. Silva was wounded last friday night in his house by two hit men of Brazilian nationality. Silva was hit with three bullets, two in the abdomen and one in the right arm. His recuperation, in the Emergency Medical Hospital in Asunción, was stable until today when a clot was discovered that could affect his lungs, due to which surgery will be needed. The family of Pedro Silva communicated that they will be needing blood donors in the next few hours.
To contact the Silvas to make a solidarity donation, please call Silva's son in law Benigno Acosta: 0981 636 932.

Campesino attacked in his house by soy gunmen

Community Ybype, San Pedro, Paraguay. Written by Arturo Peña: Don Pedro Silva is what they say, in Guarani, Iguenoiterei, which literally means "good hearted” person. But he is also a fighter and community leader for many years, surviving in the district of Lima, department of San Pedro, Paraguay.
Yesterday, two people attacked him in his home in the afternoon. They entered through the back of his property (which is next to a soya monoculture). Don Pedro was shot four times with bullets in the areas of the stomach, chest and arm. He arrived to a hospital in Asuncion and is conscious (Saturday 26, 12:30 pm). He is now being under surgery in the Hospital of Emergency. He had to be transported, in a car, first from his city to another close by, Santani, and from there to Asuncion, because they could not find the necessary medical infrastructure to treat him.

Action against the Third Round Table on Responsible Soy

[img_assist|nid=149|title=|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=150|height=113]Wednesday April 23, 2008, Buenos Aires:During a plenary session of the 3rd conference of the Round Table on Responsible Soy, a group of representatives of organisations signing the declaration denouncing the RTRS, made an intervention expressing their rejection of the greenwash caused by the RTRS. "Responsible soy is an unresolvable contradiction and in no way a viable option". Watch video clip from protest below.

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