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> Date: Mon, 27 Jun 2005
> Massacre in the department of Caaguazu -PARAGUAY
Javiera Rulli

> Brazilean Genetically Modified soy growers protected by the police and
> military in Paraguay have attacked last friday (24/06/05) a peasant
> community, TEKOJOJA, in Caaguazu. They have evicted 270 people, burnt
> down all the 54 houses and crops. 2 men have been killed -- ÁNGEL
> CRISTALDO and LUÍS TORRES -- there are many people injured and 130
> people arrested amongst them many women and children.
> The peasant community of Tekojoja is a land settlement of 500 hectares
> were 56 peasants families live and is located 70 km from the city of
> Caaguazu in Paraguay. The peasant community of Tekojoja is part of the
> Organización Agraria y Popular, part of MCNOC (National coordination
> platform of peasant
> organisatiosn) Via Campesina Paraguay. They are also involved in the
> Frente por la Soberanía y la Vida (Front for Food Sovereignity and
> Life).
> Caauguazu together with San Pedro are the regions where the GM soy
> monocultures have mainly been expanding in Paraguay in the last 5
> years. There are 2 million hectares of GM soy monocultures in Paraguay
> and the government plan the expansion of 2 more million hectares. In
> Paraguay less than 2% of the population owns 7% of the land causing
> the expulsion of the peasants of their historical territories.The GM
> soy monocultures aimed for exported is a principal cause to this
> severe situation, the rate of land conflicts have multiplied in the
> last years, only in 2004, 162 land conflicts and 118 land occupation
> took place.
> Tekojoja is one of the peasant settlement recovered during the land
> reform, however many of these lands have gone back to the hands of
> private big land owner by illegal and corrupted manouvres or by
> tricking of the peasant. This is the case of the Tekojoja community
> that has since its beginnig been threatened by the expansion of the GM
> soy monocultures. Adelin Osperman is a brasilean GM soy producers that
> want to control these lands and begun a juridical trial against the
> peasants despite that the settlement were legally recognised 3 years
> ago by the current government of Nicanor Duarte Frutos. Carlos
> González member of the Coordinación de la Organización Agraria y
> Popular states " the judge in charge of the juridical process has
> never taken into account that these land belonged to the state and
> were donated to the peasant organisations with the land reform
> program". In august 2004, the community was attacked and tried to be
> evicted with the results of several arrested people and injured
> people.
> On friday 25 june, at 5.30 in the morning the attorney Pedro Torrales
> and Nelly Varela appeared with 150 policemen with the intention of
> evicting the whole community. While the eviction, and with the
> presence of the attorneys, people were brutally harassed and
> beaten.The police were evicting and arresting the people followed by
> the paramilitary groups destroying and burning the houses with
> caterpillar tractors. In total 130 people were arrested amongst them
> 40 children and they were taken to the local jail in Caaguazu.
> Galeano, a spoke person of the community, informed that after the
> incident 29 men, 19 women y 40 children have been liberated. Several
> peasants are missing since friday. In the eviction, the legal land
> owner Adelin Osperman (brasilean soy producer) joined by hired gunmen
> entered the land with trucks and from these shot the peasants, killing
> Angel Cristaldo (20 years
> old) , y Leopoldo Torres (49 years old) and severely injuring 5 more
> people in front of the policemen present in the settlement. One is
> still in a critic state in the Hospital La Candelaria (Caaguazu),
> Anibal Gonzalez had to be operated yesterday. The Comisión Nacional de
> Derechos Humanos, the National Comission of Human Rights of Paragauy
> is covering the health care cost as the health and social services in
> tha country have been privatised.
> At current date Ademir Oppermann and several of his gunmen have been
> arrested because of the murders. In the arrestement a whole arsenal of
> weapons were found 4 shotguns, 2 of caliber 12 and 2 of caliber 20,
> one revolver caliber 38, and bullets packages for shotguns, all these
> were found in the trucks that entered the peasant community to destroy
> houses and crops. The actions of these paramilitary groups have been
> widely denounced during the last years. It is with the help of these
> groups that the majority of the evictions take place ususally under
> the collaboration of militaries and policegroups. The last time this
> was denounced was in january this year when Jorge Galeano, a peasant
> lider of the community, denounced publicly that Opperman had hired
> armed goups to terrorise the peasant communities.
> The urgency is now to help to the 270 people that have lost all their
> belongings, they are back into their land where nothing is left. The
> landowner took away 3 trucks with belonging of the peasant and only
> one has been found back and is in the hands of the police. It is worth
> to remark the urgent situation of the whole community that are now
> facing the winter without clothes, food and shelter.
> The peasant organisations have planned several demonstrations for the
> coming days. There wil be demonstrations in Asuncion in front of the
> attorneys offices, denouncing the behauvior of the two attorneys that
> ordered the evictions. One of them , Nelly Varela ordered verbally to
> the police to take the children out of the school and arrest them and
> take them to jail as they were criminals, stated Galeano. The peasant
> organisation will as well try to meet the president of INDERT (Rural
> Development and Land Issue Institution) and demand the protection of
> their lands by this institute. "Ko yvyko oremba'e, ha roî roproba
> haguãicha upéva; roguerekopa la documento ome'eva'ekue oréve Indert ha
> upévare ndorosê mo'ai ko'águi (this land belongs to us and we can show
> it , we have the documents from the government institution INDERT and
> we will not leave) stated Jorge Galeano.
> We ask international organisations to spread this situation, network
> for solidarity actions and send human right observers to Paraguay.
> Many land conflicts take time during the soy crop season (dec-
> mars) when the peasant tries to stop the pesticide fumigations in the
> surroundings of the communities confronting police and military that
> guards the soy fields.
> The peasant communities need help in the form of support for legal
> advocacy and health care. They need to cover the costs of lawyers for
> the juridical processes defending their lands and to denounce the
> violation of their rights. The health care is privatized in Paraguay
> and the peasants do not have access to it. They are intensively
> poisoned by the fumigation of pesticides and the community members are
> suffering severe health problems and need to do tests and buy
> medicines. The coordination of women of peasant and indigenous women -
> CONAMURI- is at current date maintaining the courtcase against two
> brasilean soy producers acussed of murdering a 11 years old boy,
> Silvino Talavera by their uncarless fumigation of Round Ready
> herbicide.
> References:
> BOLETÍN FSP- 24-06-05
> Personal phonecall to MCNOC mcnoc@conexion.com.py ( tel= 00595 21
> 550598)
> Call Out of CONAMURI . (Tel= 0595- 21- 490 203) conamuri@rieder.net.py

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