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Last April 25, leaders Mariano Ayala, Roque Insfrán Martínez, Antonio Duarte Legal and Daniel Pérez Gómez were imprisoned after being accused of home invasion, in Presidente Hayes department, Paraguay. Through a press release, the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations (MCNOC) denounced these imprisonments and demanded their release, in addition to the release of Milciades Atiensa, who was arrested last weekend in Alta Vera disctrict, Itapua department.
In the case of Milciades, he was arrested due to the peaceful resistance he has been carrying out against fumigations with agrotoxics that affect the peasant communities of the region. In the case of the Presidente Hayes leaders, they were in the Remansito settlement demanding the National Institute of Rural Development and Land to grant this land to the community.
In an interview with Real World Radio, Luis Aguayo, leader of MCNOC, said that the lands in question have a high economic value and he considers that the imprisonment of the leaders “is a strategy to displace the people and to leave the land in the hands of those with enough economic resources”.
Luis Aguayo considers that these attacks against the peasant communities, in addition to the poisoning and murders are caused by the development of the agri-exporter model in his country: “land is always the issue here”, said the leader about the impacts faced by peasants in Paraguay.
Aguayo also said that since the end of the dictatorship in 1989 until now, over 150 peasant leaders were murdered “and the people responsible haven´t been brought to justice. There is total impunity”.
About the situation of the movements and organizations after the historical general strike of March 26 in Paraguay, the leader believes the action managed to build “an important social capital. It was proven that the people trust in another way of building and discussing the project of Society”.
Moreover, the peasant movement has rejected the proposal of Horacio Cartes´ administration after the strike to organize “dialogue tables” with the civil society: “not because we are against dialogue, but we believe that dialogue must be clear and the main issues of the strike must be discussed (repealing the Public-Private Partnership Bill, repealing the militarization law and releasing the prisoners (who were in a hunger strike then) of Curuguaty and the delivery of Marina Kue lands)”, said Aguayo.
Since it seems that the government lacks the will to address these issues, the leader stated that a second stage of struggle is being considered after the strength gathered with the general strike.
“No queremos ser mártires, no queremos que hayan más mártires en este país, pero también hay una responsabilidad histórica de hacer valer la palabra y demostrar que tenemos derecho a la construcción de un mundo mejor. Y no podemos huir a esa responsabilidad”, dijo a Radio Mundo Real la dirigente garífuna Miriam Miranda, coordinadora de la Organización Fraternal Negra Hondureña (OFRANEH).
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