CIA in Paraguay: Attempt to Get Rid of a President

Paraguay’s current president Fernando Lugo used to be known as “the bishop of the poor”. He made a fairly quick career in the Roman Catholic church’s hierarchy, became a bishop, and later was overwhelmingly voted in as the country’s president. Inaugurated on August 15, 2008, he planned to bring profound changes to Paraguay including a departure from his predecessor’s markedly ruinous neo-liberal course and an alliance with the populist leaders seeking to build the XXI century socialism.

From the outset, however, Lugo’s plans ran into serious roadblocks. For example, his agrarian reform had to be put on hold for years because the pro-presidential fraction in the parliament was unable to break the resistance mounted by the legislature’s majority, which upheld the interests of land proprietors. Moreover, the political agenda in Paraguay was overshadowed by the fact that the country was permanently confronted with a threat of a military coup.

Tensions in Paraguay intensified when Lugo said he would not renew the military cooperation agreement with the US. The announcement left the US embassy in Asunción, which did not expect to face defiance of such magnitude, in a state of shock.Lugo’s decision rendered fruitless years of Washington’s efforts aimed at implementing the Pentagon’s New Horizons program.

Some 500 US servicemen were to be deployed in Paraguay in its framework, ostensibly to let US marines get used to the local climate and to carry out joint exercises with the country’s own army. The actual objective that loomed behind the program was to enable the Pentagon to occupy for at least a decade the Mariscal Estigarribia base sited at a distance of just 200 km from the populist Bolivia. Paraguay used to host US southern command’s forces in the past, the operations being disguised as humanitarian missions meant to provide healthcare to the population or to build schools in rural areas. In practice, the Pentagon used Paraguay’s territory to carry out reconnaissance in the border zone of the three countries – Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina – and to create the infrastructures the US could rely on to dispatch troops en masse in the case of a regional crisis.

Washington cited the presence of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah cells in the region as the reason for its activities, but obviously hoped to gain positions from which it could hold at gunpoint the populist regimes in Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Bolivia rather than sought to counter the mythical terrorist groups. Besides, Washington tends to be concerned over the attempts made by the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) to establish a regional defence system to which the US is not invited.

The US embassy and its intelligence staff were from the start angered by Lugo’s gravitating to the populist regimes. For Washington, the prospects of a strategic alliance between the Paraguayan president and the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) look frightening considering that already back in the 1970′s Henry Kissinger warned about the importance of the continent to the US plans for global dominance…

November 11, 2010

Nil Nikandrov

Antifascist Encyclopedia

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