At least 17 killed during eviction of campesinos
At least 17 dead, ten of them campesinos and seven police agents, was the result of a confrontation between police and campesinos during a violent eviction from rural land [in Curuguaty, in the southeastern department of Canindeyú] belonging to a Paraguayan businessman.
According to local authorities, the confrontations between the police and the campesinos also resulted in at least 80 people with injuries, some minor and others serious. Among those injured is a two-year-old girl, the TeleSur correspondent reports…
The TeleSur correspondent in Paraguay, Santiago Ortiz, reports that so far there are 17 dead, six police and ten campesinos. “The National Congress has decided to call an extraordinary meeting at 5:00pm local time,” he reports.
Ortiz reports that “it has been decided to send military forces to the area, although calm has already been restored there.”
Local health official Gustavo González reported to a local radio station that so far “some 80 injuries, minor and serious, have been reported.”
As a result, President Fernando Lugo has cancelled all his activities and is expected to address the country in the next few hours.
The event occurred when a contingent of 200 police agents entered the Morumbí farm, which belongs to Blas Riquelme, a Paraguayan businessman and politician, to evict a group of campesinos.
The campesino union of the area announced that among those killed is Avelino Espínola Díaz, a well known leader in the area.
Congresswoman Emilia Alfaro told Paraguayan Radio 780 AM that a special session of Congress will be called to demand the resignation of the minister of the interior, Carlos Filizzola, and declaration of a state of exception in Curuguaty.
Filizzola responded later that he would not resign and that the operation was carried out within the framework established by law.
The campesinos of southeastern Paraguay have for years struggled for fair redistribution of the land. They charge that the richest lands in the nation are in the hands of the “Brasiguayos,” Brazilians who have bought land and become nationalized.
According to claims by the campesinos, some 167,000 hectares of land in the southeast of Paraguay belong to the state, and were negotiated by military officers and former collaborators with the regime of dictator Alfredo Stroessner (1954 to 1989) to be resold to Brazilian settlers, who turned virgin forests into soybean fields.
Paraguayan government and campesinos seek resolution of conflict
Representative of the Paraguayan government and campesino organizations met Monday in Curuguaty, in the department of Canindeyú in the southeast of the country, where there had been confrontations between campesinos and the police on Friday on a farm belonging to Colorado Party politician Blas Riquelme which left 19 dead, 11 of them campesinos and eight of them police officers.
The head of the presidential cabinet, Miguel López, and the minister of health, Esperanza Martínez, represented the administration of Fernando Lugo.
López declared that it was persons outside the group of campesinos occupying the lands who provoked the confrontations after confirming that the large-caliber weapons fired were not those used by the campesinos.
Meanwhile, the minister of the presidential cabinet confirmed that he had received denunciations on the injured being tortured and minors being detained during the police operations at the farm and announced the formation of an investigating committee on violations of human rights.
The minister of health in turn announced that aid for the children and other family members of the dead campesinos will be made available, including the provision of food and medical aid…
After the events, Minister of the Interior Carlos Filizzola agreed to resign. The Paraguayan president then swore in Rubén Candia Amarilla as the new minister of the interior…
Denunciations of corruption in the judiciary
Canindeyú magistrate José Benítez announced that he will file a complaint with the Supreme Court for enforcement of Article 242 of the Procedural Penal Code so that testimony can be taken from two of the campesinos injured in the confrontation with the National Police that occurred in Curuguaty.
Néstor Castro Benítez and Arnaldo Quintana Paredes were injured in the confrontations with the police last Friday.
Judge Benítez accuses Karina Mignarro and Vicente Rodríguez, officials in the judiciary, of not cooperating in the effort to enforce the judicial ruling.
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