From my Facebook feed this morning, a link of interest to those following the Paraguayan coup and sham election. It’s from HIJOS Paraguay, the Paraguayan equivalent of a similarly named group from Argentina comprised of the children of persons disappeared by the dictatorship of that land. As you may have guessed, the Stroessner era in Paraguay produced similar phenomena, and surviving victims of that time have spoken out against yesterday’s election result:
For hours, we couldn’t speak. For hours, as at the moment our parents were kidnapped, we lost our breath.
The most infinite pain; the consecration of Forgetting and Impunity. We have always said that “A People who Forget come back to Repeat their History”. And today — again — we have come back as a people to repeat it.
The Colorado Party stained our land with blood; our soil; our lives. Their president, the General GENOCIDE, Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda, headed the longest dictatorship of the region. It was the Colorado Party which presided from civil power over the Genocide in which 450,000 PERSONS were deprived of freedom. Hundreds of thousands of them today remain “disappeared”.
One by one our homes were surrounded by the Armed Forces. One by one, they were clouded by absences. But now it looks like Our Own People Forget what we lived; what they themselves also lived; what we all lived, let us recall a bit. With the strength that we still have left. With eyes filled with tears; with soaked handkerchiefs.
On May 4, 1954, there was a Coup d’état, the FIRST IN THE SOUTHERN CONE, the beginning of the end. The Colorado Party — the one they voted for today — took over all the powers, and with the help of the Armed Forces, it prohibited ALL POLITICAL PARTIES; it PROHIBITED ALL SOCIAL OR COMMUNIST ORGANIZATION; it interfered with the Judicial Power; it interfered with all public institutions; it only permitted voting for the Colorado Party affiliate, and it only allowed voting for the National Republican Association (Colorado Party). If you got married, you had to join. If you graduated from university, you had to join. If not, they took your diploma, and you would be persecuted.
By Decree of the Dictatorship they prohibited our dialect; Guaraní was prohibited as a Language in all institutions. Indigenous communities were persecuted, such as the Mbya Guaraní and the Aché tribe. Entire communities were exterminated because for the Stronista Genocide, they represented a “cultural backwater”.
Likewise, under the orders of Stroessner’s Colorado Party: peasants, employees, studets, professionals, housewives; adults, youths and even adolescents began to join the “List of the Disappeared”.
Nobody knew about them. The Jails did not contain them. Nobody set foot in a police station, nor did a judge receive a missing persons report; the families kept quiet about the kidnappings for fear of future reprisals, and Society answered the horror with Forgetting and more Silence.
Hundreds of Girls were torn from their families and villages for Sexual Exploitation in the more than 689 Clandestine Detention Centres. Girls with no politics, most of them with no schooling at all, were selected by emissaries of the Colorado Party and brought to these houses of horror from which the majority Never Again returned.
In 1959, as a result of the morality imposed by the Colorado Party and its relationship with the Catholic Church and the Archbishop of Asunción, they began to single out, persecute, kidnap and kill hundreds of homosexuals. In the words of journalist Bernardo Aranda, it was a crime of passion: Killed for Being Free. In 1982, under the same concept of “National Morality”, they persecuted and killed more than 600 persons: Detained — Disappeared for Being Free.
During the Stronista Genocide they created 689 CLANDESTINE DETENTION, TORTURE AND EXTERMINATION CENTRES. In 1959, the first “Death Flights” of the region took place. More than 500 Children were “disappeared” from their homes, hundreds of them not even born yet but still in their mothers’ bellies at the time.
From the beginning of the Genocide, the Colorado Party was financed by its Civilian Accomplices. They are: the Coca-Cola company; MARTEL; Pepsi-Cola; CAPSA; Monsanto; the Carrizosa family and their DIESA (Miguel Carrizosa was a defeated political candidate); the Zucolillo family and their media monopoly, ABC; the Rubin family and their Radio Ñanduty; Toyota; Bi-National Itaipú; Yaireta Paraguay; the Alberzzoni family and their PILAR S.A.; ANDE; ANTE; FRISA S.A.; Cornelius Walde; BITTAR; YBAGA; Bosch Sugar Co.; LA AMERICANA S.A.; Pompa Beer; Hoekle Sugar Co.; Grupo Godoy; MADIMPA; Estancias Englewart; the Riquelme family and their flour mills; the Guanes family and their Grupos Consultores Alto Paraná; the Industrial Union of Paraguay (UIP); APAL; the Fioritto family of Villarrica and the Collante family of Caaguazú; Hotel Guaraní; and many more.
It was the the Colorado Party, under the Washington Consensus, that betrayed Alfredo Stroessner himself and, in 1989, under another coup d’état, installed General Andrés Rodríguez. After 35 YEARS OF GENOCIDE, the Colorado Party installed more than 60 YEARS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DEPENDENCE OF PARAGUAY UPON THE UNITED STATES.
With the years, our people were transformed into a representation of the interests of the north against their brothers of the south. The Stronista Senate prohibited the entry of Venezuela to MERCOSUR. By law, it permitted the intervention of the United States under the Financing Laws, by USAID and by “Acción Colaboracionista” of the Armed Forces.
The Pantheon of Heroes was stained with the blood of the “Paraguayan March”; 300 campesinos were imprisoned for Political Reasons and another 450 were put on trial for fighting. Under their “democracy” they killed 796 campesinos and social activists.
Little by little, the “Walls of Silence” rose. There was never a prisoner of GENOCIDE, never a Judged and Condemned.
We HIJOS were told we shouldn’t fight. That we should forget. That we should forgive. That we should keep silence; that we should shut up.
But in 2009, because blood was thicker than water, than this damned social mandate, we sought each other out. We looked each other in the face. We got to know each other. We met and identified ourselves. We began to learn our histories. We were no longer alone. We began to look for solutions; to talk of the dreams of our parents; to take the experiences of other brothers and other countries, and we saw that it wasn’t impossible. We began to organize; we began to see that we could do it, and we did do it. And we created work teams and went to look for our people. And we went out for Justice and Punishment. For the Truth against Forgetting and Silence.
And our sister countries received us and started their cases against the Genocides and their Civil Accomplices. Every writing, every day, seemed like a new victory. The impossible was real.
In 2012 we received four blows. A coup d’état crushed us again. Federico Franco, of the most Stronista branch of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party, deposed Fernando Lugo; he deposed the will of a people. The Civil Accomplices infiltrated our organism and took advantage of the disorientation caused by the coup. They stole our archives. As a result of that coup, our comrade José Zelarrayan died, and as a parallel consequence of the coup, our comrade ambassador Gabriel Enciso López also died.
They beat us. We fell. Once we were on the ground, the defamation campaigns against members of our organization began. They began to injure comrades from allied organizations, and our brothers all over the world.
But, because our blood is stubborn, we got back up again.
And we called out the Genocidal Putschists from Yesterday and Today: Lilian Samaniego, Miguel Carrizosa, Osvaldo Fioritto, Domingo Laino, Efraín Alegre. We will publish the truth about the Elected Putschist President, Horacio Cartes, and ALL THE CANDIDATES!
We will file suit against their Civil Accomplices. Just as we did with some of the genocides, we will do with them and bring them before the Argentine Judiciary. For the theft of our archives; for the falsification of documents; for the injuries and calumnies; they were and are Culpable: María Rosa Oviedo (embezzler of the NGO, “Busquedas”); Vanina Elizabeth Arce (embezzler of the NGO “Busquedas”); Gisela Di Vincenzo (embezzler of the NGO “Busquedas”); Joel González (member of the PLRA, genocide and activist of the “Movimiento 138”); Víctor Osmar Martínez Mendoza (accomplice of the Illicit Association); Julio Marcelo Talavera (in whose case the EAAF and various Argentine human rights organizations intervened).
We will pay tribute to Our Comrades and regroup ourselves.
Yesterday, in the National Elections, we received another big blow. The biggest blow; the one that proved that our people forget, forgive, and silence.
Since the night before the day of the election, some of those accused of stealing our archives and of illicit association restarted their defamatory campaigns. As always, we embrace all our brothers and sisters who gave their bodies day by day for Memory, Truth and Justice. Far from being quiet, we went out to repudiate them, and name them again and again. The desperate electoralist strategies of certain sectors appeared not to have limits, until the end of the day.
Horacio Cartes won. He is the new President of Our Country.
Horacio Cartes won. He is the new Civil Genocide of Our People.
As HIJOS, tomorrow we pick up the fight again. We will keep going, laughing and singing. We will keep lifting the banners of our parents and their comrades.
From right here, we say to the Colorado Party that:
YOU HAVE NOT CONQUERED US!
NOT ONE STEP BACK! NOW MORE THAN EVER!!
JUSTICE AND PUNISHMENT FOR THE GENOCIDES, THEIR ACCOMPLICES, BENEFICIARIES AND INSTIGATORS!!!
FOR THE TRUTH OF OUR PEOPLE; STRONISM WAS A GENOCIDE!
MEMORY — TRUTH — JUSTICE — IDENTITY
WE DO NOT FORGET. WE DO NOT FORGIVE. WE WILL NOT RECONCILE.
Hijos por la Identidad y la Justicia contra el Olvido y el Silencio (HIJOS), Paraguay.
So, there you have it. I said as much, this morning, when I described Horacio Cartes as the new boss, same as the old boss (Stroessner). Thanks to the HIJOS of Paraguay, we now also see the connections between big business, USAID, the CIA, and the local bottom-feeders of the old Paraguayan oligarchy. We also see how those local bottom-feeders hamstrung the only decent, elected president Paraguay ever had — Fernando Lugo — and slowed down (but could not stop) the ingress of Venezuela to MERCOSUR.
We also see the connections between all that, and the ugly words of Federico Franco following the death of Chavecito, which the fucking bastard called a “miracle”, and claimed that Bolivarian ideas had no place in Paraguay. Maybe not in the farcical “Paraguay” of Stroessner’s heirs, Franco and the oligarchy, but if the HIJOS are any indicators, Bolivarian ideas and ideals are alive and well among the persecuted common folk. And such ideas and ideals have a funny way of persisting for centuries, becoming stronger over time.
The oligarchy’s days are numbered, and they just don’t realize it yet.