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Paraguay: A conversation with Aníbal Carrillo, Fren te Guasú presidential candidate

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  • Cort Greene
    Paraguay: A conversation with Aníbal Carrillo, Frente Guasú presidential
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 6, 2013
      Paraguay: A conversation with An�bal Carrillo, Frente Guas� presidential

      [image: ((Fernando Lugo, An�bal

      ((Fernando Lugo, An�bal Carrillo))

      [Translation of an article from *Punto Final* of Santiago, Chile, for March
      8. See original here <http://www.puntofinal.cl/776/carrillo776.php> and
      related articles
      ,here <http://lo-de-alla.org/2012/06/paraguay-another-honduras/> ,
      and here<http://lo-de-alla.org/2012/06/paraguay-violent-confrontation-between-police-and-campesinos-during-eviction/>

      by Claudia Korol

      Elections will be held in Paraguay on April 21, the first since the
      parliamentary coup of June 22, 2012, that deposed legitimately elected
      President Fernando Lugo.

      The Left is divided into three slates: the Frente Guas�, which promotes the
      candidacy of pediatric physician An�bal Carrillo for the presidency of the
      country and Fernando Lugo for senator, is the majority party in this race.
      It is made up of the groups Pa�s Solidario, Tekojoja, Movimiento Patri�tico
      Popular, Frente Amplio, Partido Comunista Paraguayo, Partido de la Unidad
      Popular, Convergencia Popular Socialista and Participaci�n Ciudadana.

      Another slate, which includes Mario Ferreiro for president, is the Avanza
      Pa�s alliance, a Frente Guas� splinter group, made up of the Partido
      Movimiento al Socialismo, Revolucionario Febrerista, Dem�crata Cristiano,
      Paraguay Tekopyahu and Movimiento Pol�tico 20 de Abril. Also participating
      is the Ku�� Pyrend� party (�Women�s Platform� in the Guaran� language),
      which is backing two women, former minister Lilian Soto for president and
      campesina leader Magui Balbuena for vice president.

      *Punto Final* spoke with the Frente Guas� presidential candidate, pediatric
      physician An�bal Carrillo, about the political situation as they face these
      new elections. The conversation took place before the death, under very
      questionable circumstances, of retired General Lino Oviedo, a high official
      in Paraguayan politics who participated in the overthrow of Stroessner and
      was head of the army until 1996, when he was charged with the assassination
      of then Vice President Luis Mar�a Arga�a. Oviedo was also accused of
      killing civilians during the *�Marzo Paraguayo�* of 1999 [the political
      crisis sparked by the assassination of Arga�a] and in connection with
      another attempted coup d��tat. Paraguayan politics is still rife with high
      levels of corruption, mafiosi elements and the reign of violence.

      With Carrillo�s candidacy, the Frente Guas� is launching an attempt to
      reverse the strong impact of the coup, carried out in Parliament by means
      of a summary impeachment, which concluded with Lugo�s removal from office
      for �poor fulfillment of his functions.� In a farse without precedent, the
      *golpista* parliament granted President Lugo two hours to present his
      defense. Thus ended the episode that had begun on June 17 with the
      massacre in Curuguaty. In that confusing, and as yet unclarified, episode,
      17 people, including campesinos and police agents, lost their lives.
      Parliament used that destabilizing event to �convict� the president and to
      replace him with Vice President Federico Franco.

      *Punto Final* spoke with An�bal Carrillo in Asunci�n, where he was
      accompanied by Fernando Lugo and other leaders of the Frente.


      *What do you hope to bring to this political process with your candidacy?*

      I am an optimist. I believe that Paraguay has advanced a lot in the past
      few years. The social movements are growing, and so are political and
      citizen consciousness. Our organization has developed. We have been
      through a very rich experience in the government, very fruitful and
      educational. We are in the context, in Latin America and the world, of a
      capitalism that, if not dying, is every day more incapable of guiding and
      leading societies. It is an exhausted model that should make way for new
      forms of social organization. We are advancing in Paraguay and coming to
      understand that the electoral process is a stage, a political moment. I
      consider myself a product of a Paraguayan and Latin American process that
      will clear the way, because we have thought better about the future than
      those who rule now. With all these elements combined, I believe that my
      contribution can be positive if it helps to unite and advance the building
      of the Frente Guas�, to move forward in the people�s consciousness, in the
      battle of ideas, so we can have that transforming majority, the only
      guarantee of change.

      *What is the situation eight months after the parliamentary coup?*

      The people need to regain their advocacy, to remain in a state of
      mobilization and there also needs to be expression through the electoral
      process. Paraguayan society is divided as never before between a broad
      democratic society that has been moving forward, that has been growing
      stronger, and a *golpista* government that has its political base in the
      Partido Colorado, the Partido Liberal and Patria Querida, the parties
      complicit in this breach of democracy. The Lugo government was a
      government of change. It has given the people rights, it has spoken of the
      universality of rights, of the healing of the public administration; with
      the understanding that it is currently a corrupt system, it has confronted
      the judicial power. It was a government that met constant hostility and
      confrontation from Parliament in everything it did to the social laws and
      the budget. These are the elements that have allowed our society to
      mature, in the sense that we have to join forces to carry forward a process
      that will place the political dispute in better conditions. We have to be
      open to the regional community and to the process of Latin American
      integration, which, besides being an economic, political and cultural
      process, should find the peoples united in defense of their own interests,
      coordinating a process of social emancipation.

      *What was the political situation like prior to the Curuguaty massacre?*

      The previous political context was that of an administration that continued
      improving in terms of management, that had rejected a budget increase
      approved by the parliament but met with broad rejection by the people. The
      judicial power was questioned by a large part of society, especially the
      members of the Tribunal Superior de la Justicia Electoral. On the other
      hand, there was growth of the campesino struggle when 4,000 organized
      campesinos challenged the land owners.

      You have to remember that the economic base of our country is the income
      from land held by the large landowners. The campesinos struggle for the
      legalizing of their lands and for reclaiming public lands. There is not
      even talk about confiscation or nationalization of the land. They are
      talking about legal possession of the land and about recuperating
      ill-gotten lands. That was the spark of an enormous campesino mobilization
      and a corresponding one by the government, which for the first time took on
      an investigation into the possession of land of dubious origin. Then came
      the tragic and symbolic case of the Curuguaty massacre. A group of
      countrymen, 50 campesinos in struggle, determined to find a source of work
      and income, occupy productive land granted illegally to an owner. From
      there an episode developed in which snipers lying in ambush carried out a
      killing of the police. A confusing situation ensued, provoking a
      confrontation between the campesinos and the police. There is a second
      chapter, which was a massacre of campesinos, in which many were executed in
      a brutal way by the forces of repression. That episode is used to justify
      the impeachment in congress of Fernando Lugo. Now it is clear that that
      situation was perfectly well calculated. It was an event meant to collide
      with public opinion, with several objectives: to interrupt the democratic
      process, to destroy an elected president, to weaken the strength of a
      government of change in coming elections. It was also a blow against
      regional integration.

      We must not lose sight of the objective of imperialism, to break a process
      in which Latin America is reclaiming its democratic banners and the
      sovereignty over its riches. What�s more, it sets out to exploit them for
      the common benefit of the Latin American peoples. It is a new situation.
      In the face of the predicament we have always had of an aggressive north
      extracting the riches of the south, here we have a new situation in which
      the Latin American peoples are united to become the owners of their own

      *The objective of the coup was to stop this process of change?*

      All this effort to stop change is summed up in a bloody episode like
      Curuguaty, and in a political act of transcending importance, the removal
      of President Lugo. All these elements are playing a part, and they are
      represented today by a *golpista* government that intends a withdrawal in
      government administration of social policies and the brutal imposition of
      an economic model that excludes the population, for the benefit of capital,
      of profits and of the large landowners. It is a government that removes
      Paraguay from Latin American integration and attempts to leave it by the
      roadside of history, outside that process, which is irreversible for Latin

      *The holding of elections could be used to legitimze the coup and at the
      same time the possibility of fraud cannot be ignored. What is the Frente
      Guas��s position in the face of these facts?*

      In the first place, the elections do not leave aside that there has been an
      irregular impeachment, the irregular removal of the president, a political
      coup contrary to the constitution and the democratic spirit.

      Here the rule of law has been broken, the possibility of competition under
      equal conditions. To this is added the Tribunal Supremo de Justicia
      Electoral as an arm of the oligarchic sectors, who attempt to stage a coup
      and then whitewash it in an electoral process. I have a lot of confidence
      that the democratic citizenry is the majority in our country, that the
      democratic will has grown, and that that will can be translated into an
      electoral landslide. But without doubt there are other political wills
      that should be evaluated in order for the Frente Guas� to be able to
      organize the people, to move forward in its consciousness, and identify
      clearly those enemies of democracy who are governing today and give a
      definitive blow to the oligarchic and antidemocratic sectors.
      International solidarity is very important in this context because Latin
      America should move forward in democracy and those who abandon democracy
      should be isolated and removed from the region. Latin American
      cohesiveness is essential, staying united in defense of democracy. In
      Paraguay, a democratic system has been broken and for that reason
      continental solidarity is essential. If the conditions for the Paraguayan
      people to express itself in this electoral contest are appropriate, then,
      forward! But if they are not, we cannot move into a false popular
      consultation when the rule of law does not reign, when the institutions
      have been hijacked, when they hold a monopoly of power, and when a
      fundamental element, which is control of the electoral process, is
      prohibited to us.

      Resistance to the coup was really less than the rejection of it that the
      people felt. There was a feeling of profound indignation, but � this we
      have to assume, the responsibility was partly that of the political
      leadership � we did not know how to channel that citizen indignation
      forcefully. I am confident that with the Frente Guas� better structured,
      better organized, with a more suitable political leadership, we can face
      this electoral process with a mobilizing, democratic spirit, and with
      profound respect for the autonomy of the people. If the political and
      human rights conditions are the right ones for the people to express
      themselves with liberty and with guarantees, of course we will win the
      elections. But if not, we will not be so ingenuous as to whitewash the
      system with elections that are corrupt in their procedures and without
      equality of conditions for all the citizens.


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