Removal of Lugo, U.S. political maneuvering
On the day of his ouster, lawmakers negotiated a military base
by Stella Calloni
While performing a rapid impeachment against the democratically elected president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, on June 22, considered "illegal" by neighboring countries, Paraguayan deputies met with U.S. military to negotiate the installation of a military base in the Chaco, and depopulating a vast territory of the South American country.
The lawmaker, Jose Lopez Chavez, who responded to the Colorado Party splinter group (the Unace) - a coup led by General Lino Oviedo, which has some differences, and is chairman of the Defense Committee of the House, expressed hope "that U.S. military bases will be installed in Chaco, according to ABC Color (www.abccolor.com.py).
According to this environment, the most powerful media complex of the right in Paraguay and key in the removal of Lugo, Deputy Lopez Chavez, accused of mafia behavior, confirmed that he talked with U.S. military leaders about the possibility of installing bases, although the issue is being analyzed by the Pentagon
Speaking to a Paraguayan radio station (789 AM), the legislator argued that "it is necessary" to install these bases, since, in his opinion, Bolivia "is a threat to Paraguay because of the arms race that it develops." He also claims that his country needs to improve its safety in unpopulated areas.
The "humanitarian aid"
The bilateral agreement would be "humanitarian aid to the local population for U.S. troops." As is known, the "civic action" and "humanitarian aid," has enabled U.S. troops to be in Paraguay, and to be given diplomatic immunity in May 2005. It is nothing more than a counter-insurgency scheme, spying and population and territorial control.
According to sources, the proposal became public on 23 June, "after a meeting relating to the Defence Committee of the Chamber of Deputies with a group of U.S. generals, who arrived in the country to discuss possible cooperation agreements."
This could be a cause for the rapidity with which Lugo was removed from the government, by commitments to the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the Union of South American Nations, which would not have allowed advancement of the process of establishing a military base.
In 2009, Lugo had rejected, albeit weakly, the possibility of large maneuvers of the Southern Command in Paraguay, citing commitments to partner nations.
But since May 2005, before the arrival of the Lugo government - the entry of U.S. troops in Paraguay was allowed with immunity, to permit free movement and permanence for its soldiers, valid until December 2006, automatically renewable, as he then published in this newspaper.
It was one of the most devastating blows struck against the Mercosur by Washington. It gave way to their jurisdictional power, as the troops can move about with weapons, equipment and drugs and act anywhere on the territory, and without new authorizations at this time. A contingent of 400 soldiers entered: the first - and special groups.
In fact, these types of troops were never in Paraguay. When the dictator, Alfredo Stroessner, was overthrown in a coup "between friends" in February 1989, they kept in power military officers that had participated in his long dictatorship (1954-1989).
Paraguay lost the right to investigate crimes that foreign troops might commit, and cannot sue Washington before the International Criminal Court, in violation of its laws.
In Paraguay, detailed reports of military analysts warned of a powerful U.S. infrastructure in a country of geostrategic importance because it is bordered by Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina and is relatively close to others where there are American military bases.
The military of the Southern Command have marked the territory that is on the extensive Guarani Aquifer, one of the largest sources of drinking water in the world located in the triple border that Paraguay has with Argentina and Brazil.
According to military reports, all the Paraguayan barracks near the borders are prepared as an infrastructure for U.S. troops, which have even dug artesian wells for drinking water, supposedly for farmers and peasants, which in reality they cannot use.
Thus, the Mariscal Estigarribia headquarters, located only 250 kilometers from Bolivia, has a runway of almost 3,000,800 meters long in a country that has scarce air forces.
This was built by U.S. troops, who modernized it in recent years. It is designed to receive Galaxy aircraft, B-52s and other aircraft carrying equipment and large-scale weapons. Also prepared is the runway for the Palmerola base in Honduras.
Similarly, thousands of soldiers can be located if it is required at any time. It is ranked as one of the most powerful infrastructure bases of the U.S. in Latin America.
However, it is clear that before the offensive launched against the governments of South America that allowed the staging of coups in Bolivia and Paraguay in June this year, and destabilizing attempts in Argentina, of course, it is necessary to locate more troops in this strategic place.
The news of the agreements mentioned among the deputies linked to the last dictatorship and American generals is not surprising in these circumstances. And precisely in a country where there is a struggle for stolen and ill-gotten land, as characterized the Commission for Memory, Truth and Justice, the social conflict is a permanent question.
For the peasants, recovering their land is a matter of life and death. Especially because of the attacks of so-called "brasiguayos" and shock groups, soybean businessmen from Brazil. They form part of large corporations such as Monsanto, advancing on the continent.
Behind the removal of Lugo from office, there are elements that should be seen as a strategic attack for the project of destabilization, aiming to hit the Latin American integration.
Translated from the Spanish version by: