Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay made official on Friday the temporary suspension of Paraguay from Mercosur, because of the ‘summary’ removal of President Fernando Lugo and at the same time announced Venezuela will be incorporated to the group on July 31 at a meeting in Rio do Janeiro.
Presidents Cristina Fernandez, Dilma Rousseff and Jose Mujica meeting at the twice a year Mercosur summit in Mendoza, Argentina, confirmed that no economic sanctions will be imposed on the new Paraguayan administration of President Federico Franco, who replaced Lugo after the Paraguayan congress voted to impeach him.
The long dictatorship of Stroessner in Paraguay was described as a mafia state, in the sense that the state actually was the mafia, along with the governing Colorado Party. Stroessner's brutal regime was accepted as a staunch ally of the United States and co-operated in the "Operation Condor", organized by Henry Kissinger, which installed fascist regimes throughout the Southern part of the continent. Even after Stroessner was deposed in 1989, the Colorado mafia state continued, although wearing a democratic mask.
The principal victim of this mafia state was the peasantry, who suffered the systematic robbery of their land throughout the sixty four years of its rule. By 2008, 85% of the land was in the hands of 2% of the population. The ownership of the land was and remains the principal social and political issue in Paraguay. The big land owners have contracted with transnational corporations such as Cargill and Monsanto to cultivate genetically modified crops, especially soya and cotton. This industrialized monoculture has driven even more peasants into destitution, either in the countryside or in the slums of the cities. It also poisons the land, the water and the air.
The Latin America Solidarity Centre condemns the coup d'etat against President Lugo in Paraguay as an affront to democratic practice.
A soft-coup has ousted Centre-Leftist Fernando Lugo from the presidency in Paraguay and replaced him with Vice-President, but long-time political enemy, Federico Franco of the inaptly named Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico (Authentic Radical Liberal Party, PLRA). Using as pretext a bloody confrontation last week between landless peasants occupying a large-landholding in Curuguaty, near the Brazilian border, and police forces sent to violently dislodge their encampment, a farcical political trial was carried out last Friday by the opposition-controlled Congress in which the President was accused of having failed to maintain social order in the country.
Lugo, democratically elected in April 2008, and with over a year left in his tenure, was given less than 24 hours to prepare his defence, and only two hours in which to present it at trial. "Paraguay used a mechanism contemplated in the Constitution," remarked Argentine ambassador to Paraguay Héctor Timerman, explaining why his government considers there to have been a rupture in the democratic order in its next-door neighbour, "but it was applied in such a way as to violate not only the spirit of the Constitution but all constitutional practice in the democratic world." Recognizing the summary proceedings as little more than the burlesque theatrics of the old Paraguayan oligarchy, Lugo refused to dignify the Congress with his presence, initially accepting his forced resignation when no other options appeared available.
The brutal murder, torture and rape of Rosa Elvira Cely, in the middle of Bogota's National Park, has led to a justifiable wave of indignation across the whole country. To the cry of 'Not one more Rosa!' thousands of Bogotans met on 3 June at the site of the macabre crime to pay tribute to this victim and to vehemently protest violence against women.
In this article I don't want to go too in depth into this particular crime, which unfortunately is only one more in a string of thousands of abuses and feminicides that occur on a daily basis in Colombia. Nor do I want to refer to the multiple negligences that contributed, by some degree to the fatal ending of this story (the inadequate response of the police to calls for help, negligence in medical treatment with the stab wounds that ultimately led to death not being treated etc). What I want to draw attention to is the hypocrisy of the Colombian media and elites who today are horrified before the corpse of Rosa Elvira Cely, but who systematically turn a blind eye to crimes of right wing paramilitaries  which are a carbon copy of the impaling of Rosa Elvira Cely.
Venue: LASC, 5 Merrion Row, Dublin 2
Date: Wednesday 20th June
On Wednesday 20th June, to coincide with the day of Global Mobilization, Laura Carvalho, who is currently graduating from the MSc. in Environment and Development from Trinity College, will talk about the People's Summit and explain who these organizations are, what they want and will outline the solutions they offer for Social and Environmental Justice.
Venue: Light House Cinema
Date: 8th-15th June
We had a full house in The Light House cinema last Sunday for the premiere of Even the Rain. If you missed it, there's no cause for worry as the film starring Gael Garcia Bernal, is out this Friday exclusively at Light House Cinema. The film will run for one week from Friday 8th June. We hope you can make it down. It is an excellent film and well worth seeing.