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3 Jul, 2012 14:19

'Latin American Spring' kicking-off in Paraguay? (Op-Ed)

'Latin American Spring' kicking-off in Paraguay? (Op-Ed)

The impact of Paraguay’s president being ousted in a coup last month goes far beyond the country itself - it was global industrial powers who backed a powerful local elite to orchestrate the turnaround.

It seems the left-leaning policies of president Fernando Lugo, a socialist politician and former Catholic priest, were just too much for the Global Power Masters. So, after a 24-hour “impeachment trial”, they removed him.

Fernando Lugo was elected Paraguay’s president in April 2008 running on the “Alliance for Change” ticket, marking the very first time after sixty years that the pro-US Colorado Party was swept from formal political power.

Lugo’s policies sought to redistribute wealth, giving more rights to the poor majority of the Guaraní Indian-stock population. Ideologically, Lugo is in the same socialist camp as presidents Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, Evo Morales of Bolivia, and Rafael Correa of Ecuador. 


Regime Change the Monsanto Way

­Lugo’s tenure in office was not easy: a scandal over his fathering a child out of wedlock and being ordained, a battle with cancer in 2010, and very recently a violent episode of police repression when clearing public land occupied by local farmers in the township of Curuguaty on Brazil’s border.  On Friday 15th June that turned very ugly when a gun fight broke out, leaving 6 police and 11 farmers dead, and dozens injured.

The opposition quickly maneuvered politically and through their control over Congress and the media, notably the ABC Color Multimedia outlet owned by Grupo Zuccolillo who are partners of US biotechnology and grains trader Gargill Inc.  Impeachment proceedings were pushed in a record 24 hours, putting Mr Lugo out of a job and replacing him with his Colorado Party vice president Federico Franco.

Most South American nations rejected this coup – Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, even Chile and Colombia. However, the US, UK and EU seem to have no qualms with this coup-de-Etat; for them it’s just “democracy business as usual”. 

The roots of this coup against Paraguay, though not reported by the mainstream Western media, are simple. Late in October 2011, Paraguay’s liberal Agriculture and Livestock Minister Enzo Cardoso illegally approved a new transgenic cotton seed called “Bollgard BT” – engineered by US biotechnology giant Monsanto for mass plantation. 

This immediately sparked widespread protests from local farmers and environmentalists, who say the product is very dangerous as its gene is mixed with the Bacillus Thurigensis gene, a toxic bacteria that kills cotton plagues but causes environmental damage.  

An internal row erupted as Paraguay’s National Seed & Vegetable Quality and Health Service – SENAVE – headed by a Lugo supporter, Miguel Lovera, refused to approve Monsanto’s wonder seed because it did not comply with Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environmental Protection approvals as required by law.

To cut a long story short, the local press led by Zuccolillo’s ABC Color newspaper and other opposition and pro-US media, politicians, NGOs, foreign agencies and corporate interests launched a smear campaign against Mr Lovera, as well as Health Minister Esperanza Martinez and Environmental Protection Minister Oscar Rivas, that led to the Curuguaty massacre and escalated all the way up to president Fernando Lugo.

No one knows who fired the first shot leading to the bloodbath in Curuguaty.  Some talk of internal sabotage inside police intelligence – especially amongst the Special Operations Group in charge of repressing the farmers, many of whose key officers were trained in counterinsurgency in Colombia during president Alvaro Uribe’s pro-US “paramilitary” government.  Then there’s the local Attorney General’s office receiving USAID – United States Agency for International Development “support”…

The Curuguaty massacre cost Interior Minister Carlos Filizzola his job, who was promptly replaced by Ruben Candia Amarilla from the opposition Colorado Party.  In 2005 Candia Amarilla was named Attorney General during the last Colorado Party administration counting the full support of US Ambassador John F Keen, thus giving USAID a major role in the Public Ministry.  Candia had already been accused by president Lugo some years ago of conspiring to overthrow him.


The Brazilian Equation

­But this is not all just about Paraguay, which lies in the heart of South America. As Brazilian military geostrategists pointed out last century, it’s of fundamental geopolitical and geostrategic importance.  Thus, US control over Paraguay is a key factor for American hegemony over South America, one of whose goals lies in stopping Brazil’s growing global importance as a BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa – country.

Brazil recently discovered massive oil reserves off its Atlantic coast, which led it to upgrade and strengthen its naval and air forces, especially ever since the US resurrected the South Atlantic Fourth Fleet (founded during World War II, scrapped in 1953 and reborn under George W Bush).

This means Brazil’s growing alliance with Russia, China and India needs to open up an alternative Pacific Ocean route away from the NATO controlled Atlantic.  US military and political control over Paraguay would definitely act as a barrier to this, and is a preparatory step for US plans to build a trade block with US-UK allies in Latin America: notably, Mexico, Panamá with its Canal, Colombia, Peru, Chile and now, Paraguay.  A veritable Pacific Wall not easy for Brazil to jump over.


The kind of “democracy” the US wants to see…

­During the 20th Century, Latin America had to cope with extensive “coup engineering” – military and civilian – by the US and UK intel agencies CIA and MI6, which repeatedly orchestrated, financed, armed and promoted “regime change”.    

Lasting decades, the ensuing pro-US regimes had “trademark” figures like General Augusto Pinochet in Chile, Anastasio Somoza in Nicaragua, generals Aramburu, Ongania and Videla in Argentina, Carlos Andrés Perez in Venezuela, Fulgencio Batista in Cuba, and general Alfredo Stroessner in Paraguay, amongst others.

Divide & Rule (and Weaken!!!) That is the keynote for the coming “Latin American Spring”, just as it is with today’s nefarious “Arab Spring”.
So, stay tuned… there’s lots more to come!

­Adrian Salbuchi for RT

­Adrian Salbuchi is a political analyst, author, speaker and radio/TV commentator in Argentina. www.asalbuchi.com.ar