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Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:10 AM

Gunmen assassinate peasant leader in Paraguay

Gunmen assassinate peasant leader in Paraguay

Dec 1, 10:08 ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) -- Gunmen early Saturday murdered one of the surviving leaders of a peasant movement whose land dispute with a powerful politician prompted the end of Fernando Lugo's presidency last June.

Vidal Vega, 48, was hit four times by bullets from a 12-gauge shotgun and a .38-caliber revolver fired by two unidentified men who sped away on a motorcycle, according to an official report prepared at the police headquarters in the provincial capital of Curuguaty. A friend, Mario Espinola, told The Associated Press that Vega was shot down when he stepped outside to feed his farm animals.

Vega was among the public faces of a commission of landless peasants from the settlement of Yby Pyta, which means Red Dirt in their native Guarani language. He had lobbied the government for many years to redistribute some of the ranchland that Colorado Party Sen. Blas Riquelme began occupying in the 1960s.

Vega was expected to be a witness at the criminal trial, since he was among the few leaders who weren't killed in the clash or jailed afterward.


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Reply Gunmen assassinate peasant leader in Paraguay (Original post)
Judi Lynn Dec 2012 OP
Judi Lynn Dec 2012 #1
Judi Lynn Dec 2012 #3
polly7 Dec 2012 #2
Judi Lynn Dec 2012 #4

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 12:28 AM

1. Background of the trouble started when this wealthy landowner stole the land from campesinos:


Former Colorado Party Sen. Blas Riquelme.
(His party ruled Paraguay six decades while
their right-wing genocidal dictator, who also
gave haven to Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele after
WWII controled, with US support, absolutely
everything in Paraguay.[/center]

Background to the Curuguaty events

The Canindeyś department in the northeast part of Paraguay is a border region with Brazil with a high concentration of land in the hands of soy agribusinesses (Monsanto), marijuana cultivation and drugs and weapons smuggling.
Blas N. Riquelme is one of the richest people in the country, former Colorado Senator, large landowner with supermarket chains and many other food companies. Blas N. Riquelme was fraudulently given 50,000 hectares of land, which were meant for poor peasants of the agrarian reform, during the Stroessner Dictatorship in 1969. This case of ill-gotten land was reported in the Report of the Truth and Justice Commission in 2008.

Since the fall of the Dictatorship in 1989, local peasants have been fighting to get these lands back. Two months ago a group of 60 landless peasants occupied 2,000 hectares of the lands in an area called Marina Cue. These people did not belong to any specific peasant organization.

The Curuguaty massacre

On Friday June 15, two groups of law enforcement officers, the GEO Special forces and the police, entered Marina Cue with only a search warrant. The first group went to the camp to talk with the peasants. The police group suspiciously positioned itself behind. Surprisingly, in a confused event, long distance shots were fired. The first persons to fall were the chief and the deputy chief of the GEO forces.

During the ensuing battle, helicopters with reinforcements from the Special Operations Forces arrived and dispersed the peasants with flamethrowers and tear gas. The result of the battle was 11 peasants and 6 policemen dead.
In the first 24 hours after these events, police and soldiers surrounded and closed the area not letting anybody in. A first group of human rights advocates from Asuncion was detained by the police for several hours. In the capital peasant leaders remained on alert, and in Curuguaty locals complained of law enforcement hunting down all survivors of the gunfight and any peasant activists in the area. Police burned the camp, erasing all evidence. During this period no prosecutors entered the area to observe what happened and collect evidence. It is assumed that during this time the police removed dead bodies and destroyed any proof.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 04:36 PM

3. Paraguay peasant leader Vidal Vega shot dead

2 December 2012 Last updated at 15:00 ET
Paraguay peasant leader Vidal Vega shot dead

The leader of a landless peasant movement in Paraguay involved in a land dispute with a powerful politician has been shot dead.

Vidal Vega had been co-operating with an inquiry into the deaths of 11 of his supporters and six police officers.

They died last June in an operation to evict farmers from land which activists say was illegally grabbed by a late senator in the 1960s.

Then-President Fernando Lugo was ousted over his handling of the deadly clash.

They say the land was illegally taken during the military rule of Gen Alfredo Stroessner and distributed among his allies.


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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 10:02 AM

2. Thanks for all the information Judi Lynn.

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Response to polly7 (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 04:38 PM

4. Thanks for your comment. We are all learning together about these things. n/t

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