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BBC provides inaccurate report of Paraguay massacre

BBC provides inaccurate report of Paraguay massacre

Sunday, December 23, 2012

By  Peter M. Tase    curuguaty1

On December 16, 2012, BBC published its third article of the year on Paraguay’s Curuguaty Massacre in which were killed six police officers and eleven landless farmers.  Although BBC’s comments and language are candid and balanced, it fails to acknowledge that charges pressed against the farmers who rose up in arms against the police are just among the few charges being brought against such suspects over the last four years in Paraguay, when former former President  FernandoLugo was running the show.

BBC fails to examine the legacy inherited by the current government, under President Federico Franco, in which many violent attacks orchestrated by the Paraguayan People’s Army (Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo) continue to be unresolved up to this day. No one is brought before justice, whereas President Franco’s current administration in cooperation with an independent court system and has gone one extra mile to bring to justice some of the criminals who are responsible for this tragic massacre.
The incidents at Curuguaty caught the national police force unprepared and sadly caused the loss of six police officers. Among them – immediately after a brief negotiation with the landless farmers group – was Erven Lovera, who will shot do death while leading this police operation. Officer Erven Lovera was a graduate of the FBI academy and had been trained on multiple occasions in the United States.
The BBC has not revealed that the landless farmers had placed booby trap bombs in their tents, emplaced beneath sleeping mattresses which were meant to explode while being searched by police officers during a second phase of the operation.
The BBC also fails to share with the public the complete list of police officers who lost their lives in the crime. They are Erven Lovera, Osvaldo Sanchez, Jorge Alfirio Rojas Ferreira, Wilson David Cantero Gonzalez, Derlis Ramon Benitez Sosa, Juan Gabriel Godoy Martinez. Most of these officers were shot in the head, leading many observers to conclude that this was the work of snipers with shoot-to-kill orders.
Additionally. the names of the squatters killed are Luciano Ortega, Adelino Espínola, two brothers Luis Agustín and Fermín Paredes González, Ricardo Frutos Lara, Adolfo Castro, Nelson Ruiz Díaz, De Los Santos Agüero, Andrés Riveros García, Delfín Ugarte and Francisco Ayala.
The BBC report said that, “Prosecutors in Paraguay have filed charges against 14 farmers allegedly involved in a land dispute which resulted in the killing of 17 people.” However, there are 17 farmers who are being prosecuted and the BBC source does not specify the charges that each one of them has to face.
The list of suspects includes:  Rubén Villalba,Felipe Martínez Balmori, Luis Olmedo Paredes, Adalberto Castro Benítez, Arnaldo Quintana, Néstor Castro, Lucía Agüero, María Fani Olmedo, Dolores López Peralta, Rilsy Raquel Villalba and their charges as BBC correctly states “range from murder to criminal association and land invasion.”
As perhaps one of a few Americans who was in Paraguay when this armed conflict was taking place, in Marina Cue, Curuguaty, I must emphasize that this tragedy has changed forever the lives of the victims’ families, brought a drastically new direction to Paraguayan foreign policy causing a political isolation for the country and marginalizing its opportunities for international commerce.  Hope remains high for BBC to conduct further reports that depict the situation in Paraguay with more details, facts and in a more accurate perspective.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

Paraguay makes inroads on corruption

PARAGUAY MAKES INROADS ON CORRUPTION

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

On November 28, President Federico Franco of Paraguay  signed  a decree in support of creating the National Anti – Corruption Secretariat that will enforce a more rigid code of ethics for all public service employees.  The newly established secretariat has as its primary objective to assure the implementation and management of ethical values in government offices, a relatively difficult task to fully implement in the Paraguayan society, considering that corruption and impunity are the two persisting hurdles that delay economic progress in Paraguayan cities and rural villages.
The Anti-corruption Secretariat will be working closely with the Ministry of Public Service and other government entities to further improve the practice of the code of ethics by public employees in government offices. Some of the primary items are: the rule of law, efficiency and transparency of every public official, in addition to the ethical rules that every agency or government entity has adopted to implement in order to establish an environment with a solid code of ethics.
The Paraguayan Code of Ethics was prepared in collaboration with the European Community, which begun funding in 2007 a modernization program for the Public Administration in Asuncion that is expected to improve the Administration’s role and functions under the supervision of the President’s cabinet.
In the signing ceremony there were also Interior Minister Carmelo Caballero, Minister of Public ServiceNuria Isnardi, and Minister of Social Provision VictorRivarola.
Paraguay has suffered enormously from the endemic presence of corruption in almost every government office in the last two decades of democratic governments running the country. The United States has constantly encouraged the fight against corruption, strengthening of democracy, cracking  down on drug trafficking and anti-smuggling initiatives.  The strategic partnership between the United States and Paraguay has been instrumental in securing two Millennium Challenge Corporation Funds (in 2006 and 2009) for Paraguay, thereby adding more than $60 million to combat corruption and strengthen the rule of law.
Spero analyst Peter M. Tase writes on Latin American political and trade issues. 

Nicaragua shows growth in agricultural sector

NICARAGUA SHOWS GROWTH IN AGRICULTURAL SECTOR

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

During the first nine months of 2012, agricultural exports of Nicaragua have increased by 16.35 percent compared with the same period last year; even though this year, rain has been scarce in the crop fields.

According to the Office of Exports (CETREX), Nicaragua exported 2.075 billion USD in products between January and September, resulting in 16.35 percent higher than agricultural products being exported in the same period last year ( 1.783.6 million USD).
According to Jose Antonio Mayorga, vice president of the National Union of Agricultural Producers of Nicaragua (UPANIC), September 2011, was a month characterized by heavy rain but unfortunately the volume of products was reduced by 30 percent:  “We are waiting for the upcoming season to bring some showers of rain, so there is a proper growth and maturation of crops such as rice, sorghum, soybeans and peanuts and hopefully maintain the same levels of agricultural production.”
For the officials of Nicaragua’s Institute of Meteorology rain precipitation have decreased throughout the country side, this is why farmers have not reported any positive results until now. In Nicaragua, later this month, are expected a series of light showers that would provide the necessary moisture for the growth of crops.  In mid-2012, El Niño has also contributed towards a dry weather in most parts of Nicaragua. Meteorologists expect changes of weather patterns, with some rain, and crops are expected to yield more in the beginning of 2013.
Even though Nicaragua is the second poorest country in Latin America, its agricultural production sector, over the recent years, has adopted a major change towards introducing its products in national and international market, demonstrating a certain level of dynamism in regional agricultural markets.  In Nicaragua, just like in any other Latin American country, Investment in agriculture affects and directly reduces the level of poverty, as the agricultural production increase, poverty reduction is inevitable.   Nicaraguan government should create the conditions for increased investment in agriculture and these political decisions will have greater effect in reducing the level of poverty in the country.
Spero analyst Peter M Tase writes on Latin American political and trade issues.

Catholic bishop calls for defending family values in Paraguay

CATHOLIC BISHOP CALLS FOR DEFENDING FAMILY VALUES IN PARAGUAY

Monday, December 10, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

Catholic bishop calls for defending family values in ParaguayOn December 9th, Catholic Bishop Adalberto Martinez paid tribute during a Sunday mass to the importance of family and “the Church’s obedience to the Constitution, because it defends the family and even sets the stage for a better life.” Bishop Martinez was referring to politicians who do not respect the church’s voice.
While placing the case of family preservation as a priority, Martinez recalled the need for its protection as the society’s basic component, and in that sense.
Bishop Martinez argued that this involves economic security and work. The Church will always advocate these issues, because it is a big family that is working towards strengthening of society.  In this context, the bishop proposed the importance of the family since ignoring it will cause a social weakness that will further increase the presence of abandoned kids in the streets, out-migration of Paraguayans. National leaders should find ways to resolve the current societal challenges to Paraguay.  On the other hand,  political candidates should keep in mind the Church’s requests so they can address appropriately the social challenges once they become the leaders of this country.   Martinez also defended marriage between one man and one woman as the will of God.
Spero writer Peter M Tase writes on Latin American business and political affairs.

“THE CUTTING EDGE” (reaching 1.4 million monthly)

 

Oil Addiction

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Paraguay Inks Oil Deal to Advance on Energy Independence

  Peter M. Tase            December 11th     2012

On December 5th, President Federico Franco of Paraguay began a two-day official visit to Miami, invited by local petrochemical companies that are planning to explore oil in the the Chaco region of the South American country.

In one of his interviews, Franco stated that Paraguay has the largest oil reserves in Latin America and is looking forward to receiving US investors to conduct further studies in the Chaco. One day before his departure, the president visited the city of Neuland (about 350 miles from capital city Asuncion) and with representatives of President Energy Company led the symbolic act of officially beginning the oil exploration in Chaco, in which President Energy is expected to invest $92 Million. Seismic exploration trucks have already undertaken tests and exploratory drilling is set to begin.

In Miami, Franco met with representatives of President Energy in Miami and noted that the exploration of oil in Paraguay “means a tremendous added  value for [Paraguay’s] economy.” Franco “highly values Paraguay’s potential for energy independence and the its significance to secure an added value from oil and its byproducts.”

He added that “[oil exploration] will open a new area of development for the country,  and further enhance what we already have in the agricultural sector and create value with our existing strategic resources.” Franco received details of the latest digital technology in studies of geo-seismology undertaken by President Energy Co. in the territory of Pirity and Boqueron in the Paraguayan Chaco region. It was in the Chaco region that Paraguay fought a brief war with neighboring Bolivia in the 1930s, ostensibly over possible petroleum reserves. It is in the same region that it currently faces a restless insurgency.

The senior leadership of President Energy, Peter Levine and Richard Gonzalez, presented the rese search and methodology that confirm prospects for oil in Paraguay. According to President Energy analysis, there have been identified more than 150 million barrels of high quality crude oil, which can be refined at the state-owned Petróleos Paraguayos (Petropar) refinery at Villa Elisa in central Paraguay.

Franco, accompanied by two members of his cabinet: Minister of Industry and Trade Francisco Rivas and Minister of Schedules Fernando Pfannl, was given briefings on the technology, industrial equipment and logistics that will be installed once the oil exploration has begun in Chaco. Also joining Franco were Senators Blas Llano and Robert Acevedo.

President Franco met also with the leadership of Brightstar, who confirmed their interest in establishing headquarters in Paraguay in order to assemble 30,000 computers per month.  Brightstar will fulfill the demand of supplying computers to Paraguayan children, while the surplus will be exported overseas. Brightstar is a global company, headquartered in Miami, and is dedicated to computer and cell phone production technology.

Also, in an exclusive interview with Speroforum in Paraguay, Franco confirmed his government’s desire for closer economic and political ties to the United States. This was confirmed last month when American Airlines began direct flights to the Paraguayan capital from the U.S. Franco’s government and Paraguayan exporters are still experiencing the fallout of Paraguay’s suspension from the MERCOSUR regional trade bloc. Paraguay’s absence from a crucial vote allowed Venezuela to become a member of MERCOSUR, despite Paraguay’s long-standing opposition. Paraguayan exporters complain of bureaucratic delays at the border with Argentina, while Paraguay struggles with diplomatic wrangling over its impeachment and removal of former President Fernando Lugo this year. The Organization of American States, however, has confirmed the constitutionality and legality of Lugo’s dismissal.

Peter M. Tase is a long-time observer of Paraguayan political affairs and trade matters. He writes forSperoforum, from where this article is adapted.

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Paraguayan president seals business deals in Miami

federiko-300x225PARAGUAYAN PRESIDENT SEALS BUSINESS DEALS IN MIAMI

Friday, December 07, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

On December 5th, President Federico Franco of Paraguay began a two-day official visit to Miami, invited by local petrochemical companies that are planning to explore oil in the the Chaco region of the South American country.
In one of his interviews Franco stated that Paraguay has the largest oil reserves in Latin America and is looking forward to receiving US investors conduct further studies in the Chaco.  One day before his departure, the president visited the city of Neuland (about 350 miles from capital city Asuncion) and with the president of President Energy Company led the symbolic act of officially beginning the oil exploration in Chaco, in which President Energy is expected to invest $92 Million.
In Miami, Franco met with representatives of President Energy in Miami and noted that the exploration of oil in Paraguay “means a tremendous added  value for [Paraguay’s] economy.” Franco “highly values Paraguay’s potential for energy independence and the its significance to secure an added value from oil and its byproducts.”
He added that “[oil exploration] will open a new area of development for the country, and further enhance what we already have in the agricultural sector and create value with our existing strategic resources.” Franco received details of the latest digital technology in studies of geo-seismology undertaken by President Energy Co. in the territory of Pirity, Boqueron, Paraguayan Chaco.
The senior leadership of President Energy, Peter Levine and Richard Gonzalez, presented the research and methodology that confirm prospects for oil in Paraguay. According to President Energy analysis, there have been identified more than 150 million barrels of high quality crude oil, which can be refined at the PetróleosParaguayos (Petropar) refinery at Villa Elisa in central Paraguay.
Franco, accompanied by two members of his cabinet: Minister of Industry and Trade Francisco Rivas and Minister of Schedules Fernando Pfannl, was given briefings on the technology, industrial equipment and logistics that will be installed once the oil exploration has begun in Chaco. Also joining Franco were Senators BlasLlano and Robert Acevedo.
President Franco met also with the leadership of Brightstar, with whom confirmed their interest to establish their headquarters in Paraguay and assemble 30,000 computers per month.  Brightstar will fulfill the demand of supplying computers to Paraguayan children and the surplus will be exported overseas.   Brightstar is a global company, headquartered in Miami, and is dedicated to computer and cell phone production technology.
Senators Llano and Acevedo both took the lead to introduce legislation in the Paraguayan Congress to promote the Brightstar project.
Spero columnist Peter M Tase is an analyst of Latin American and business affairs.

Paraguayan police defeat narcoterrorists in combat

Paraguayan police defeat narcoterrorists in combat                    PARAGUAYAN POLICE DEFEAT NARCOTERRORISTS IN COMBAT

Thursday, December 06, 2012

By Peter M Tase

On Wednesday December 5, agents of the National Police of Paraguay were engaged in an armed encounter with members of the self-proclaimed Paraguayan People’s Army (Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo, EPP), an armed criminal group which is considered to an extended arm ofFARC in Colombia.   EPP is relatively small, operating Paraguay’s Concepcion region and frequently engaged in actions against police forces stationed in the area. During their attack in July, they set fire to a police post.  On November 15, EPP was also involved in attempting to destroy the high-tension electric towers running through the border area between Concepcion and the province of San Pedro. The latter is considered to be the poorest province of Paraguay.
In the latest full-scale encounter with EPP, the National Police wounded one member of the group. Others are being pursued by police and special forces in the nearby forests.
President Federico Franco’s government is determined to eradicate this terrorist group and has substantially increased the presence of military and special police forces in the area that is considered to be a stronghold of the EPP.   Police Commissioner Antonio Gamarra stated to Speronews that  “ five members of EPP had exchanged gun fire with police forces, one of them was wounded and there [were] no casualties among the police involved in the gun fight.” Gamarra, who led the police in the gunfight, added that they found an abandoned shotgun, as well as ammunition. The shotgun was inscribed with the words “Long live the armed struggle.”
Local police officers and members of the tactical group called “León Pirú” continue to patrol the area and are on the hunt for other members of EPP.

Bolivia poised to become new MERCOSUR member

BOLIVIA POISED TO BECOME NEW MERCOSUR MEMBER

Saturday, November 24, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

On November 21st, the government of Bolivia was invited by Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay to become a full member of Mercosur, a regional trade block in South America.  According to the treaty of Asuncion, Mercosurmember countries should vote unanimously in order to accept a new member country into its cradle. Bolivia’s accession, the same as Venezuela’s on July 31st,  will not be done in a legitimate manner since Paraguay, a founding member of Mercosur, has been suspended from this block and Asuncion’s voice is overlooked.  Today, Mercosurresembles more to the Warsaw Defense Treaty of the1960s, than to the present structure of European Union Trade initiatives. Bolivia will become a full member ofMercosur without the consent of Paraguayan government, La Paz will be entering illegally the organization from the back door.
Paraguay has been unanimously expelled from the other three Mercosur countries in June 29th, 2012, in the Summit of Mendoza, after the rightful and constitutional political impeachment against former President FernandoLugo, guided by the Paraguayan National Congress, on June 22nd, 2012.
On December 7th Mercosur Summit in Brasilia, Bolivian President Evo Morales, is expected to sign the official acceptance documents in order to seal his country’s full privileges of becoming a regular member of this trade block and further establish a healthy bondage with Hugo Chavez. As La Paz moves closer to Chavez’ Bolivarianideology, it is crystal clear that Ecuador is the next country in line to become a Mercosur member.  Its leader Rafael Correa will be the next in line to sign his country’s treaty of accession in this regional block.
In a phone interview with Speronews, Paraguayan Vice President Oscar Denis noted that “the inclusion of Bolivia into Mercosur will further increase the illegal actions taken by all its member nations, with the exception of Paraguay.” He stressed the importance “to act swiftly and establish strong commercial ties between Paraguay and the United States, and explore the possibility of bilateral agreements with other Latin American countries such as Mexico, Peru and Colombia.”
If Bolivia is accepted as a regular member in the upcoming Mercosur Summit of December 7th, without the presence of Paraguay, this will further taint the reputation of  Mercosur and these unlawful actions will be a shot in the foot to all its members except Paraguay. It is clear that Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay are violating the Treaty of Asuncion and making the same mistake twice in less than six months; beginning with the illegitimate accession of Venezuela into Mercosur and subsequently the forthcoming summit in Brasilia is another analogous violation expected to happen.
Spero columnist Peter M. Tase writes on Latin American diplomatic and trade affairs. 
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

Argentine trade barriers unfairly harming burgeoning Paraguay

ARGENTINE TRADE BARRIERS UNFAIRLY HARMING BURGEONING PARAGUAY

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

By Peter M. Tase

Paraguayan shipment containers exported through the port facilities of Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires have encountered additional obstacles since the beginning of 2012, immediately after Argentine President CristinaKirchner’s administration adopted its ‘Early Export Declaration’(Declaración Jurada Anticipada deImportación -DJAI) in February 2012.  These blocking measures were expected sooner or later, considering the political measures taken against Paraguay by neighboring Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay at the MERCOSURregional summit this June.
Unfortunately, it has proved to be ruinous for the Paraguayan economy since exporters to have had shipments held up in the port of Buenos Aires for week and even months. These actions taken by Kirchner’sadministration, in the past year, have further deteriorated bilateral relations between both countries; their political disagreements have taken a new shape and further deepened the divide not only on political matters but also by Argentine obstacles to Paraguayan exports, point that has characterized Kirchner’s attitude towards landlocked Paraguay.  Argentina continues to exercise what Paraguay regards as illegal authority by checking and unloading every exports container that comes from export dependent Paraguay.
Even though Paraguayan President Federico Franco’s government has sent a note of protest to the World Trade Organization and conducted many bilateral meetings with Argentinean counterparts, there is still no solution on the horizon. Argentinean authorities pretend that by controlling shipping containers, they are reducing drug trafficking  in the area bordering Paraguay.
If this is the case, then why isn’t Argentina’s government keeping open its customs facilities open on a 24-hour basis? For example, the Customs and Immigration Office at Argentina’s port at Itati, along the Parana River, is closed during the weekends.  In addition, Paraguayan individuals have frequently complained of discriminatory and illegal behavior on the part of Argentinean officials.
According to the Paraguayan Center for Economic Analysis (El Centro de Análisis yDifusión de la Economía Paraguaya (Cadep)),  Argentina’s obstacles to Paraguayan exports have caused losses of $20 million to Paraguayan exporters so far in 2012. During the course of this year, 38 percent of outfit and clothing shipments have been affected by Argentina’s blocking measures. In addition, Paraguay’s exports of commodities have fallen by 3.7 percent.  In general, Paraguayan exports have been negatively affected by the politically motivated actions made by MERCOSURmember countries, which have greatly damaged Paraguay’s potential for exports and growing presence in the global market.
Due to its abundant water and arable land, Paraguay can feed more than fifty million people thanks to its large quantities of grain production. It also one of the ten biggest exporters of beef in the world. Stevia, a plant native to Paraguay that is used as a non-caloric sweetener, is yet another product that Paraguay produces, along with sesame and tropical fruit and juice.
According to Eduardo Felippo, president of Paraguayan Industrial Union (UIP), “the exacerbating friction between Paraguay and its southern neighbor (Argentina) will never go away.” Felippo added that “even the Yacyreta BinationalHydroelectric Dam project didn’t prove to be a good investment, much less a success story for a brighter future in our bilateral relations… We should stop selling to Argentina and Brazil and seek other markets in the world, thereby diversifying Paraguay’s international markets and further industrialize [its] economy.”
Currently, President Franco’s government is analyzing the possibility of establishing new trade routes to  Chile and other Pacific Alliance member countries. On my most recent trip to Paraguay, local businessmen and government authorities discussed with me the possibility that Paraguayan exporters may seriously consider shipping their abundant goods via air cargo to markets such as the United States, Colombia, Mexico or even across the Pacific Ocean.  In the discussions, the example of Argentina’s direct air shipments of asparagus to the U.S. was cited as a model to follow.
Paraguayan President Federico Franco is seeking closer trade ties to the U.S. In November, direct flights to Paraguay from the United States were inaugurated by American Airlines. In addition, Franco is in the U.S. discussing with U.S. businesses the prospects for producing petroleum in Paraguay.
Spero columnist Peter Tase is an analyst of Latin American diplomatic and trade issues.
The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.

A NEW PUBLISHING IN THE “ARGENTINA STAR” NGA PETER M.TASE

Argentina Star | Current News Headlines about Argentina

Argentina Star

 

About Argentina Star

Argentina Star was established in September 2002 to provide up-to-the minute local news, together with national and international headlines as part of a global network pooling resources to deliver a quality service to member sites. Each online publication has been modeled on a newspaper format for familiar readability by users. The locations forming part of the network were selected on the basis of demand for news for that location.

Argentina Star, effectively an online newspaper, provides coverage of the city, the metro, and regional area. International news, business and finance stories are common across the network of sites, and are drawn from a number of sources including wire services.

Argentina Star and the other sites are administered by Midwest Radio Network from offices in Sydney, Australia.

 

Bolivia poised to become new MERCOSUR member

Spero News Saturday 24th November, 2012

Mercosur member countries should vote unanimously in order to accept a new member country into its cradle. Bolivia’s accession, the same as Venezuela’s on July

 

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