The problem blends with the transit of migrants who cross the region in search of the American drea...
ASUNCIÓN, Paraguay – Paraguay’s President Fernando Lugo has sacked the commanders of the army, navy and engineering corps for allowing military facilities to be used for a conference of far left-wing South American youth groups from 6 to 10 May.
The head of the army, General Alfredo Machuca, who is accused of violating Paraguay’s constitution by authorising the use of an army building for a political event, has been replaced by General Juan Oscar Velazquez. The tough response, according to Última Hora, also extended to engineering corps commander Felipe Santiago Cañete (replaced by Colonel Roberto Miguel Bareiro) and navy chief Ruben Carmelo Valdez (replaced by Rear Admiral Claudelino Recalde).
Valdez, who was acting head of the armed forces, claimed that the use of the engineering corps headquarters was authorised by President Lugo. The president, however, denied this upon his return from an official visit to Brazil.
The use of the building for the “Second Latin American Camp”, a gathering organised by a group known as “Youth for Change”, was severely criticised by the Paraguayan opposition, which, according to ADN, even argued that it could provide grounds for impeaching the president.
During the gathering participants raised political banners (some of them for Paraguay’s Movement to Socialism, others with communist hammer and sickle symbols) and displayed photographs of leftist idols like “Che” Guevara and Fidel Castro, as well as Hugo Chavez and Evo Morales.
According to EFE, Lugo at first tried to shrug off the criticism by arguing the conference was not political but rather a “pluralist event” attended by more than 1,000 Paraguayans, 150 Argentinians, 67 Bolivians, nine Brazilians and three Uruguayans.
Lilian Samaniego, the leader of the opposition Colorado Party, however, told ABC Color that the meeting had no cultural purpose but was a partisan political event. “The government, she said, “is systematically attacking the institutions, and this is another example of it”.
Secretary General of the Republic Miguel Lopez Perito tried to play things down as he gave ABC Color an explanation of the legal proceedings that led to the dismissal of the military commanders. “There were some procedural problems,” he said. “Certain steps have to be taken to use military buildings, and on this occasion military procedure wasn’t followed”.