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22 November 2012 | News | Land grabbing | Social activists at risk | Human Rights and International Solidarity Mission | No to the coup d’état in Paraguay | Resisting neoliberalism | Human rights | Food Sovereignty
The Platform of Social Organizations for Democracy of Paraguay is holding the final stage of an oral ethical and public trial before the National Congress on Thursday in the country’s capital, Asuncion. The Congress promoted a coup d’état in June, disguised as an impeachment, where the constitutionally elected President, Fernando Lugo, was ousted.
The trial takes place at the Playa de la Democracia, exactly five months after Lugo’s ousting. Thursday’s hearing is the continuation of the process began by social organizations on August 22, when they filed the case before the Ethics Tribunal.
Adital news agency reports that this is a non binding trial, it does not imply any legal obligations. The process respects the guarantees of due process. Lawyer Guillermo Ferreiro will represent the National Congress.
Meanwhile, Prensa Latina reports that the Tribunal is presided by a former member of the Supreme Court of Justice, Luis Lezcano Claude, and composed by renowned legal experts, researchers and historians of the country.
The failure of Congress to comply with the constitutional duties and its arbitrary use of impeachment, besides the undue influence and other unethical and corrupt actions are the main accusations made by the Ethics Tribunal.
The Court members will hear the allegations of the plaintiffs and the defendants and any citizen will be able to give their opinion. The tribunal is expected to issue a final ruling by this evening.
Meanwhile, the Platform of Social Organizations for Democracy of Paraguay are expected to signal other state institutions and authorities to be taken to trial.
One of the reasons provided by the Paraguayan Congress for Lugo’s impeachment was the government’s actions in the “Curuguaty massacre” on June 15, where 11 peasants and 6 police officers were killed.
On that day, 50 landless peasants, including women and children, were occupying the Marina Cue plot of land in Canindeyu department, 35 km from Curuguaty. The peasants claim that the land belongs to the State and it is supposed to be destined to the agrarian reform, but it has been irregularly occupied by the cattle corporation Campos Morombi which, at the time of the occupation belonged to former MP of the Colorado Party, Blas Riquelme, who died on September 30.
In the morning of June 15, 400 police officers, including special riot police, helicopters, 20 patrols and several ambulances, assaulted the land, leading to the massacre. Besides the peasants and police officers killed, tens of peasants were injured, as well as police officers and 12 people were arrested. 54 people were prosecuted because they appeared in a list found by the police that was made by the peasants occupying Marina Cue who wanted land. Some of the peasants who were prosecuted were not in the land that day. Tens of the people wanted by the police are fugitive. Of the people detained, several are on a hunger strike in the prison of Coronel Oviedo in Caaguazu department and two of them, Felipe Nery Urbina and Juan Carlos Tilleria are in delicate condition.
In an interview with Real World Radio in early September, the former Paraguayan Minister of the Interior, Carlos Filizzola, who resigned on June 15, called for a serious investigation of the Curuguaty case. The now senator said that he has suspicions about the massacre being plotted, with people infiltrated in the land who used heavy weapons, causing the massacre, to add a false reason to justify Lugo’s impeachment and finally ousting him.
A two-and-a-half year process of work which resulted in a meeting with several thousand Brazilian peasants; “a process that didn´t start now, and that won´t end here”, said Itelvina Massioli, national leader of the peoples´ struggle for land, agrarian reform and food sovereignty, in interview with Real World Radio after the 6th Congress of the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST).
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