By Mariana Serafini
This week Paraguay will witness another attempt by the judicial system to jail the poor and to weaken social movements. The political prisoners charged with killing six policemen during the 2012 episode which came to be known as the Curuguaty massacre will probably be tried next Monday, August 3. The trial was postponed for the fifth time last Tuesday after the defendants requested a change of lawyers just as the first hearing began.
The Curuguaty massacre was the result of a police action intended to expel the Marina Kue settlement of landless farmers, located in the municipality of Curuguaty, in the northern part of Paraguay. The conflict ended with 11 campesinos and six policemen dead. Sixteen agricultural workers were arrested during the event, two of them minors. Currently, 11 are still being detained in open-air prisons and the leader, Rubén Villalba, is still in the Tacumbú prison, in the metropolitan area of the capital, Asunción. The police violence was completely out of proportion; the settlement consisted of about 50 families, who were taken by surprise by a force of more than 300 policemen supported by helicopters and elite sharpshooters. (more…)