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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-01-07 04:20 AM
Original message
Ruling allows Paraguayan ex-army chief to run
Edited on Thu Nov-01-07 04:29 AM by Judi Lynn
Source: Miami Herald

Ruling allows Paraguayan ex-army chief to run
In a last-minute decision, Paraguay's Supreme Court voided a conviction of controversial ex-army leader Lino Oviedo, clearing him to run in the presidential elections.

Posted on Thu, Nov. 01, 2007

McClatchy News Service

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The race for Paraguay's presidency took a dramatic turn when the country's Supreme Court late Tuesday voided the mutiny conviction of popular ex-army commander Lino Oviedo, freeing him to run for the top job.

One of Paraguay's most controversial and colorful figures, Oviedo announced in September that he would seek the office, shortly after he was released on parole for a conviction of fomenting a coup d'etat against the government in 1996.

The court's decision drew howls of outrage from some political analysts and politicians, who accused the Colorado Party of manipulating the court to allow Oviedo's candidacy and split possible opposition to its candidate, who will be chosen in December.

The party, which has ruled Paraguay for 60 years, is facing a tough election battle against former priest Fernando Lugo, who has wide support from the poor among Paraguay's 6.7 million population.

He also has been indicted for his alleged role in the assassination of one of his political rivals, Vice President Luis Mara Argana in 1999, and the murders of seven protesters who were demanding his imprisonment in connection with Argana's death.

(my emphasis)

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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-01-07 09:35 AM
Response to Original message
1. The stakes are high for the Bush Junta, which MUST retain some client states
in Latin America, as South America is swept by a leftist (majorityist) revolution, centered in the Andes democracies (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina), but also including Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile (and Nicaragua to the north), with big, active leftist movements promising yet more victories for democracy and social justice in the future (in Peru and Mexico, and possibly Guatemala this year). Paraguay is a small, landlocked country, sandwiched between four leftist democracies (Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Brazil), with only one U.S. client state on its border (Peru). It thus could be a crossroads of healthy regional development of the kind contemplated by Mercosur (a South American "Common Market" and common currency) and the Bolivarians (the Bank of the South--which is evicting U.S.-dominated loan sharks, such as the World Bank/IMF, from the region). Clearly, the current center/right leadership of Paraguay is aware of these possibilities. To my surprise, they joined the Bank of the South--although they are so corrupt, I can't imagine they joined it to benefit the country's vast poor population. And if they steal the election, and put a fascist and murderer in charge (Lino Oviedo), they will certainly try to rip off the money and leave the poor to pay the debt (as with World Bank lending). The Bank of the South will have to be careful about such lending (and I'm sure they will be).

But to get back to the Bush Junta. They have much motive to interfere in Paraguay. They are not only short on client states in South America, they desperately need a base of operations from which to launch fascist ventures against the leftist democracies, particularly in the Andes. Client states are Latin American countries where U.S. global corporate predators can dump U.S. Ag and other products, can find cheap, unprotected labor, can operate freely as to killing union organizers, can continue to rip off the country's natural resources, and--importantly--can infuse U.S. military and police state money, and U.S. military (and mercenary) presence, at U.S. taxpayers' expense, for the phony, murderous "war on drugs." Countries like Colombia and Mexico are boondoggles for the U.S. military and police state industries. The military resources and money are then used to brutally suppress social justice movements, to entrench rightwing power, and to militarize and brutalize the entire society, with enhanced (NOT reduced) illicit drugs and weapons trading. The U.S. "war on drugs" is also an excuse for maintaining U.S. military bases in Latin America.

The Bolivarian countries are actively rejecting the U.S. "war on drugs," for all of these reasons. Ecuador is evicting its U.S. military base. Bolivian president, Evo Morales, made opposition to the U.S. "war on drugs" a major part of his platform. He campaigned with a wreath of coca leaves around his neck, in solidarity with the poor peasant farmers who are being oppressed and destroyed by "war on drugs" activities (including toxic pesticide spraying). Morales comes from such farmers. He WAS a peasant farmer and coca leaf grower himself, as were his parents, and rose to power as a union organizer of the small coca leaf farmers, who are also important producers of local food supplies. (He is also 100% indigenous--the first indigenous president of Bolivia; the coca leaf is the sacred plant of the Andes mountains--essential to survival in its frigid climate and high altitudes). Addressing the drug problem sensibly, cheaply, and humanely--and successfully--is NOT the U.S. policy. U.S. policy is to militarize, loot and kill, and enhance and profit from the trade in dangerous drugs like cocaine (different from chewing coca leaves). And its main victims are the poor.

So, with many countries beginning to reject this ruinous U.S. policy, the Bushites are anxious to hang onto client states (and drugs and weapons markets), and would have good reason, for instance, to bribe the judge who is permitting this fascist murderer (Oviedo) to run for president. They have reason to have operatives in the country to steal the election. They have used USAID/NED funds (our taxpayer dollars) to support the rightwing opposition to Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and are, no doubt, using such funds (and black budget funds as well) in Bolivia, against Evo Morales, and in support of the big landowners (who want to split off the resource-rich (oil, gas) provinces from the central government), and throughout the region--to undermine, destabilize and overthrow democratic government. It follows that they would be doing the same thing in Paraguay--to prop up the extremely corrupt and decrepit Colorado Party regime, and to push it toward hard right fascism.

There was a rumor about a year ago that the Bush Cartel had purchased a huge swath of Paraguayan territory--200,000 acres, if I recall correctly--on a major aquifer, near a U.S. military airbase that the Bushites were upgrading with U.S. tax dollars. The rumor has not been verified--as far as I know--but it occurred to me at the time that this could be a rightwing paramilitary enclave where mercenary forces could be mustered in particular against Bolivia, perhaps in coordination with U.S. military, mercenary and local paramilitary forces operating in Peru and Colombia against Ecuador and Venezuela.

One certainly has to wonder what nefarious schemes Donald Rumsfeld is up to, these days, and how the Bush Cartel is going to continue its world domination game, if they are going to relinquish power over the U.S. military and the looted U.S. federal budget, to cooperative 'Democrats.' Re-conquest of South America could well be high on their agenda. I also suspect that major Bushite players remaining immune from prosecution and jail may be part of the bargain. The global corporate predators (oil corps, and those who require oil for global tanker traffic and products--the "free traders"--and myriad other predators, such as World Bank financiers) can't be happy with the Bush Junta's "loss" of South America, on top of the disastrous chaos in the Middle East. Re-gaining ground in South America may be a condition of their immunity.

Why would Bush undertake a kneecapping trip to Latin America--as he did last March--in the midst of a two-front war (Iraq, Afghanistan) and plans for a third front (Iran), not to mention political meltdown at home (a 25% approval rating)? It was weird. To appearances, it was not very successful, from a Bushite point of view. In fact--to appearances--it was a fiasco. But we don't know what its hidden purposes may have been--for instance, as to re-organizing the fascist forces to operate more successfully against a tidal wave of leftist victories. And Paraguay would be very important--and perhaps even central--to such a plan. The Bushites desperately NEED a fascist victory in South America, and desperately need to PREVENT another leftist one--such as the election of the very popular "bishop of the poor," Fernando Lugo, to the presidency of Paraguay.

Thus, two questions need to be asked, by U.S. taxpayers and by any real representatives that we may still have in the U.S. Congress: 1) Are Oviedo and his operatives receiving U.S. taxpayer money (through USAID/NED or other budgets)?, and 2) DID the Bush Cartel purchase this enclave in Paraguay (and how much U.S. taxpayer money have they spent on the nearby U.S. military air base)?

Long term, the leftist movement in South America will succeed. It is not only an overwhelmingly popular movement, it has some very shrewd leadership, who are taking the steps necessary for South American economic independence, regional cooperation, social justice and connection to the rest of the world. Colombia, Peru and Paraguay are isolated dinosaurs, who stand to lose, big time, if they continue as U.S. client states. It is likely that they, too, will eventually be transformed by the Bolivarian Revolution. But this doesn't mean that the the Bush Cartel--with a corporate-friendly 'Democrat' in the White House--can't cause a lot of grief and suffering in the meantime, in their efforts to destroy South American democracy, and to hang onto, and expand, their looting ground. They have been more successful in Central America, and the ravages of their "success" are plainly visible in countries like Guatemala and Mexico--major killing grounds in the drugs and weapons trades; vast poverty; vast injustice; stolen elections; and, in Guatemala, 50 political candidates, campaign workers or candidates' family members assassinated during this year's election alone, as the fascists try to hold onto power through bloodshed and chaos.

This is what Paraguay has in store for it, if the fascists succeed. And we can be sure that the Bushites are doing everything they can to make that happen.
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-01-07 10:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Before we learned Bush's daughter was seen in Paraguay a year or two ago,
and the stories started circulating that the Bushes had bought a ranch there, it was learned that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, owner of the Washington Times, etc., and Bush family friend had purchased a HUGE tract of land directly above the largest fresh water aquifer in the world, near the Estigarribia air base.

Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay
U.S. military presence in Paraguay

U.S. secret military operations
"Controversy is raging in Paraguay, where the U.S. military is conducting secretive operations. 500 U.S. troops arrived in the country on July 1st with planes, weapons and ammunition," Toward Freedom's Benjamin Dangl wrote September 15, 2005. "Eyewitness reports prove that an airbase exists in Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay, which is 200 kilometers from the border with Bolivia and may be utilized by the U.S. military. Officials in Paraguay claim the military operations are routine humanitarian efforts and deny that any plans are underway for a U.S. base. Yet human rights groups in the area are deeply worried. White House officials are using rhetoric about terrorist threats in the tri-border region (where Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina meet) in order to build their case for military operations, in many ways reminiscent to the build up to the invasion of Iraq."

Tri-border region
"Located where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet, the area is home to roughly 20,000 Middle Eastern immigrantsmostly from Lebanon and Syriaand has long been a hotbed for terrorist fundraising, arms and drug trafficking, counterfeiting and money laundering. By moving freely through the regions porous borders, operatives from the terrorist organizations Hizbollah, Hamas, and according to some reports, al-Qaeda, are able to conduct arms-for-drugs deals with secular Latin American terrorist groups like the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Perus Sendero Luminosos (Shining Path). All told, U.S. officials believe that between $10 and $12 billion is funneled through the tri-border region each year, with Hizbollah among the prime beneficiaries," Erick Stakelbeck wrote March 19, 2004, in

Natural Resources
"The tri-border area is home to the Guarani Aquifer, one of the worlds largest reserves of water. Near the Estigarribia airbase are Bolivias natural gas reserves, the second largest in Latin America. Political analysts believe U.S. operations in Paraguay are part of a preventative war to control these natural resources and suppress social uprisings in Bolivia," Dangl wrote.

Mariscal Estigarribia airbase
"The Estigarribia airbase was constructed in the 1980s for U.S. technicians hired by the Paraguayan dictator Alfredo Stroessner, and is capable of housing 16,000 troops," Dangl wrote. "A journalist writing for the Argentine newspaper Clarin, recently visited the base and reported it to be in perfect condition, capable of handling large military planes. Its oversized for the Paraguayan air force, which only has a handful of small aircraft. The base has an enormous radar system, huge hangars and an air traffic control tower. The airstrip itself is larger than the one at the international airport in Asuncion, the Paraguayan capital. Near the base is a military camp which has recently grown in size."

Criminal Immunity
"On May 26, 2005 the Paraguayan Senate granted the U.S. troops total immunity from national and International Criminal Court jurisdiction until December 2006. The legislation is automatically extendable. Since December 2004, the U.S. has been pressuring Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and Paraguay into signing a deal which would grant immunity to U.S. military. The Bush administration threatened to deny the countries up to $24.5 million in economic and military aid if they refused to sign the immunity deal." Dangl wrote.

What makes Paraguay a natural political ally is its strong history of far right leadership, in addition to its invaluable geographic location. Stroessner only recently died, after opening the country to Nazi monsters after World War II:
President of Paraguay

Alfredo Stroessner seized power in Paraguay in 1954. European correspondents who visited Paraguay during his rule used the term the "poor man's Nazi regime" to describe the Paraguayan government. Of German descent, Stroessner was a great admirer of Nazism, and this showed not only in the refuge he offered to many Nazi war criminals, such as Joseph Mengele, but also in his ruthless methods.

From the Nazis the Paraguayan military learned the art of genocide. The native Ache Indians were in the way of progress, progress represented by American and European corporations who planned to exploit the nation's forests, mines, and grazing lands. The Indians were hunted down, parents killed, and children sold into slavery. Survivors were herded into reservations headed by American fundamentalist missionaries, some of whom had participated in the hunts.

Between 1962 and 1975, Paraguay received $146 million in U.S. aid. Paraguayan officials seemingly wanted more, however, for in 1971, high ranking members of the regime were implicated in the Marseilles drug ring, with Paraguay their transfer point for shipments from France to the US. In the 1980s, America finally condemned Paraguayan civil rights abuses and drug trafficking. Stroessner still looked as if he'd be dictator for life, but in 1988 one of his closest generals, Andres Rodriguez, a known drug dealer, took over after a coup. Rodriguez promised to restore democracy, and President Bush called the 1989 elections a democratic opening, but opponents declared them a massive fraud. Rodriguez's Colorado party won 74% of the vote....
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-01-07 09:59 AM
Response to Original message
2. Judi Lynn, thank you again for the timely posts--and PHOTOS!--on these
critically important events in South America. The leftist revolution there is shaping the future of our country, unknown to most north Americans. And the forces at work there to PREVENT democracy and social justice are intimately connected to the rightwing/corporate forces here, who are destroying OUR democracy and impoverishing us all. And it is a point not lost on me that the Bushites, who are trying to put a fascist murderer in charge in Paraguay, are themselves murderers on a massive scale. Oviedo is their kind of guy. I wondered if they were going to just sit back and let the "bishop of the poor" get elected. I was fearing for Lugo's life, actually. Now we see their hand--moving their murderous jerk, Oviedo, from jail to the presidency, no doubt with a whole lot of 'disappeared' ballots, and thugs at the polling places. I hope the OAS (now dominated by leftist governments) is working to insure a clean election in Paraguay. That's a tall order, with the highly corrupt Colorado regime in charge. But they've done it before--in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador and other countries--with the help of the Carter Center, and EU election monitoring groups. However, in other cases, there were awesome leftist movements and strong grass roots organization, as the basis for clean elections. The Paraguayan left does not seem so well organized--lots of fractiousness and in-fighting (and one wonders about Bush Cartel/CIA activity in that regard). So I'm pretty jittery about the whole situation.

Again, thanks for the info! You are a wonder!
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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-01-07 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. It's like hearing monster music playing, isn't it, seeing stories like this surfacing?
Here's a bio. on Paraguay's famous leader, President Stroessner, from the Washington Post. It surprises me that they actually published this, considering his favorability to the U.S. right-wing!
Gen. Stroessner was a distinguished and ruthless Army officer who in 1954 overthrew the president who appointed him commander of the armed forces. The coup was unremarkable in Paraguay, a landlocked, desperately impoverished country the size of California that had suffered through several wars and had seen nearly two dozen dictators come and go in as many years.

The general brought early stability and foreign investment to the Paraguayan economy. With time, he shrugged off his less savory policies as "the cost of peace" and kept his country in what he called a constant "state of siege" that overruled his democratic constitution.

He was technically the country's president, and he made pretenses to humble servitude, once telling a crowd of international reporters, "In spite of my wishes, the party insisted that I be a candidate."

In reality, he enforced a cult of personality that was unhealthy to challenge. Membership in his Colorado Party was a prerequisite for job promotion, free medical care and other services. Even opposition party members kept pictures of him in prominent rooms of their homes and offices. An entire city bore his name, Puerto Stroessner. A large neon sign blinked in the central plaza of the capital, Asuncin, "Stroessner: Peace, Work and Well-being."

"El Excelentisimo," as he sometimes trumpeted himself, was elected every five years with near-universal approval that he took for a clear mandate. However, voting fraud was rife, and he tended to receive overwhelming support from dead constituents.

With a network of informants and the backing of the military, he tortured dissidents, both real and perceived.

A Paraguyan senator, Carlos Levi Rufinelli, a member of the token opposition party, told the New York Times in 1975: "I was a prisoner 19 times, and I was tortured six times. Most of the time, I did not know what they wanted. They did not even know what they wanted. But when they put the needles under your fingernails, you tell them anything, you denounce everybody, and then they say, 'See, you were lying to us all the time.' "

A schoolteacher, Martin Almada, was arrested in 1974 and tortured for 10 days because of his union efforts to increase teacher pay. While he was in prison, his screams were recorded and played over the phone to his wife. She died of a heart attack after the police sent his bloodied clothes to her home and told her to collect his corpse. He was not, in fact, dead and later became one of the country's post-dictatorship human rights champions.

All the while, the country became astoundingly corrupt. Payoffs were essential to all commerce, with much of the swag going to top military officers. Paraguay became a sanctuary for smugglers in arms, drugs and everyday goods such as whiskey and car parts.

In a noxious twist on Latin hospitality, Gen. Stroessner provided refuge for French-born international heroin dealer Auguste Ricord; strongmen such as Argentina's Juan Pern and Nicaragua's Anastasio Somoza Debayle (later assassinated in Paraguay); and war criminals, including Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor known as the "Angel of Death" who performed genetic experiments on children.

Paraguayan President Stroessner

I read somewhere and posted it, that Paraguay had the fewest number of paved roads and telephones per capita in South America. Odd, isn't it? The right-wing dictator spent very little on the "common man."
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Peace Patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-01-07 01:50 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Monstrous it is! I don't know about music, though.
I can't think of any music that would go with the screams of the innocent, as our Bushite monsters and their pals in Latin America, chainsaw union organizers and throw their body parts into mass graves, torture prisoners here, there and everywhere, and slaughter whole villages of indians. Maybe that kind of sweet, dreamy music they used in "Dr. Strangelove"--that song with the line, "We'll meet again/ don't know where/ don't know when...", as the world went up in nuclear holocaust.

If you could put Bushitism to music, nobody would listen. But they don't do that, do they? They sugar-coat, and lie, and get all bubbly and pert--like Bush's latest press secretary (what's her name?). Was listening to that Barbie Doll the other day. So glib. So perky. So....'We'll meet again.' She'll still be percolating bubble after bubble of fascist 'talking points' as we go down to perdition.
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Uncle Joe Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-01-07 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
6. Kicked and recommended.
Thanks for the thread and informative posts, Judi Lynn. :thumbsup:
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Javaman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-02-07 10:03 AM
Response to Original message
7. Sniff? Sniff? is that the cia spreading money around the Paraguay's supreme court??
naaaaa, perish the thought.

moron* has to protect is ranch now, don't he*?

I'm waiting now for the disinformation push against Fernando Lugo. Citing him as some sort of weak leftist or some sort of commiefascistislamodictator waiting to take away peoples babies and sell them into white slavery.

can't let a guy who preaches peace to run a country now.
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