Paraguay: Free the Peasants Falsely Accused of the Curuguaty Massacre

Written by Delia Ramírez

Translated by Jesse Cohn

In Asuncion, Paraguay, the absurd trial for the Curuguaty Massacre is in its final stage. It is a trial riddled with irregularities and connivance between sectors of power. The defendants are Juan Tillería, Alcides Ramírez, Luis Olmedo, Lucía Agüero, María Fani Olmedo, Dolores López, Néstor Castro Benítez, Adalberto Castro, Arnaldo Quintana, Felipe Benítez, Felipe Nery Urbina, and Rubén Villalba. It is on the last of these that all the arbitrary measures have fallen most viciously, mainly for his career of activism in the struggle for land.

In this final stage of the trial, the collectives #AbsolucionYa and Movimiento 138: Colectivo de Resistencia Cultural (Argentina/Paraguay) have launched a new campaign to seek full acquittal for all the peasants who have for nearly four years suffered the consequences of a trial that has kept them imprisoned, uprooted, deprived of medical attention, separated from their families, unable to work or to fully live their lives. Freedom for the survivors of the massacre is a key to make it possible to investigate and determine what really happened on June 15, 2012 on the public lands of Marina Kué.

To this end, public figures from the arts, culture, media, and human rights in several areas have taken pictures with a sign that says “It’s Time for Freedom,” demanding the acquittal of the imprisoned peasants. To see the album, go to https://web.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1202392053118653.1073741837.1139729832718209&type=3&_rdr

Information on the aforementioned campaign can be found by “liking” on Facebook: Curuguaty #AbsolucionYa; Movimiento 138. A report on the contradictions of the trial in progress, along with videos, photos, audio and investigations of the Curuguaty Massacre can be found on the web: www.absolucionya.wordpress.com

Reasons to demand freedom for the peasants in Curuguaty:

– There is no evidence to support an indictment, a trial, let alone a conviction. The peasants are innocent and are victims of the atrocities suffered in 2012.

– The judicial process is fraught with irregularities showing bias on the part of the judges and prosecutors.

– No police have been indicted, only peasants. This means that only the deaths of police are being investigated with lying arguments.

– The power entrenched in the State intends to punish the peasants for seeking land to live on. The ultimate goal is to ensure that the big soy producers can continue plundering the Paraguayan people.

– The peasants cannot be accused of violating property rights because by presidential decree of 2004, the lands of Marina Kué were declared to be the “object of agrarian reform.” The peasants were engaging in regular procedures for obtaining land.

Do you remember the Curuguaty Massacre?

The case known as the Curuguaty Massacre or the Marina Kué Massacre was an atrocity that took place during an eviction in a community in the department of Canindeyú, Paraguay on June 15, 2012: 17 people (11 peasants, 6 police officers) were killed in total. This murky event was used to displace the then President Fernando Lugo in a hasty and illegitimate “political trial” and to intensify a persistent campaign of criminalization and stigmatization waged against peasants fighting for land in a country with a distribution of land among the most unequal in Latin America.

The history of concentration of land ownership in Paraguay is also a history of human rights violations, and in that context, the Curuguaty Massacre occupies a special chapter and represents a very open wound in Latin America.

Article from Venezuelan newspaper El Libertario [Reposted from http://www.sinpermiso.info/textos/paraguay-libertad-a-los-campesinos-y-campesinas-acusados-falsamente-de-la-masacre-de-curuguaty.]

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