The undersigned collectives, organizations and people declare the following towards weaving a coordinated initiative of popular resistance. We believe that it is an urgent priority to accompany and support the Frente Unido para la Defensa de la Democracia (FDD) and the expressed desires of the people of Paraguay in their agenda of autonomous resistance to the occupation of capital, of which the recent coup is an expression.
We join our autonomous resistances with theirs. We call on those who share this same desire and commitment to join this collective initiative, sign on to this letter (email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com ), and consolidate the popular resistance and solidarity that is required, speaking together from Paraguay.
We declare that:
1. Fernando Lugo is the President of Paraguay, elected by a people out of a desire for the space and opportunity to transform society from below and reorient it towards freedom and justice. Lugo was removed in a Coup d’Etat that was carefully planned and carried out by and for transnational capital. (1)
2. Paraguay and its peoples are victims of their enormous wealth and the fact that they are situated in an area of strategic importance for the accumulation of capital through continental megaprojects: El Chaco. The northern half of the country borders Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia and is also an enormously important region for the production of biofuels and energy through the use of transgenic soy(2), the construction of hydroelectric dams, and mineral exploitation by large mining companies, whose projects are pushed by the government of Canada(3). There is also the issue of water privatization (Guaraní aquifer), with the Paraná, Paraguay, Uruguay and Tieté rivers all bound for transformation into the Paraná-Paraguay(4) waterway of the IIRSA regional infrastructure project, which, beyond generating enormous construction contracts for infrastructure, gains to concessions for its administration and exploitation, will permit the extraction of resources and trade among five countries (including Uruguay) and the world, 24 hour-a-day, 365 days-a-year. The region covers and provides direct access to the Guaraní aquifer, the greatest reservoir of fresh water on the planet.(5)
3.In Paraguay, 85% of the land is owned by 2.5% of the population(6). Landless peasants and indigenous peoples constitute a threat to these megaprojects, and their permanent displacement requires war and terror. Under this perverse logic, and with the desire to occupy the region and its resources, Capital fabricates pretexts for militarization, such as wars “against narcotrafficking and terror”. The Southern Command of the US Military (USSOUTHCOM) has established the enormous Mariscal Estigarribia base (7) (FOL (8))in the geographic heart of this strategically important region. The base has the capacity for 16,000 military personnel, all guaranteed impunity for violations of human rights and other abuses. Not far from this military base, near the Bolivian border, lie 40,000 hectares of land acquired by former US President George W. Bush and another enormous property owned by his father, former President George H. W. Bush(9). From bases like these throughout the continent a vast machinery of war and terror at the service of transnational capital is imposed in blood and fire; it was constructed in Colombia, exported to Mexico, Honduras, Bolivia, Chile, Venezuela and on to the rest of the continent under the name of “Democratic Security” and the shadow of former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe Vélez(10) and his mafias of military and paramilitary groups, coordinated through the Southern Command. This machinery generates war and terror in Paraguay as mechanisms to generate instability. The most recent of these actions, the massacre of 11 landless peasants and 6 police officers, serves as the pretext for the destruction of the Fernando Lugo presidency through subsequent false accusations and the declaration of a State of Siege by the government so as to authorize the establishment of the US base in Paraguayan territory. Planned massacres are right out of the textbooks and Plan Colombia. This same machinery has already been installed throughout the continent. Where will the next coup take place?
4. We already know who overthrew Fernando Lugo and why(11). El Chaco and Paraguay cannot be permitted to belong to this country nor to its peoples; they have been bound for occupation and extraction by transnational capital through megaprojects and terror financed with public resources and a growing criminal debt. The coup in Paraguay, as in all the other coups throughout Latin America, was carried out by and for transnational elites and their partners among the local elite. In this case in particular, Monsanto, Cargill, Syngenta and Río Tinto are at the helm. Fernando Lugo broke the agreement that permitted the establishment of the Mariscal Estigarribia base in 2009 and was key in UNASUR’s rejection and condemnation of the 7 US military bases in Colombia(12). The coup constitutes a tactical stage in the imposition of “Free Trade” as the delivery of strategic territories to the transnational corporations.
5. Terror, propaganda and corporate policies function in such a way as to displace people and clear territories and countries for the dismantlement and destruction of peoples – our memory, our consciousness, our resistance. More than that, they consolidate corporate blocs in the advancement of strategic business preparing for total war between corporate blocs in every land and markets for which peoples are being recruited to kill each other under different pretexts and armies, all of these based on deceit for the elimination of population excess and the concentration of wealth, territories and resources for corporate elites.
6. The transnational coup in Paraguay is the same coup that overthrew Manuel Zelaya in Honduras with only some local adaptations – from the massacre pretext carried out by the perpetrators of the coup, followed by the illegitimate legal charges against president Lugo, to be followed by the farce that includes:
– a process to impose and recognize an illegitimate government and president;
– the immediate adoption of legislation and policies that favour the interests of the coup perpetrators, agribusiness and extractive megaprojects;
– a hypocritical and empty discourse on the part of the governments that serve transnational capital, including the US, Canada and the “Pacific Alliance” (Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile) as well as Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama.
Something is absolutely clear: all of these countries support the coup, they knew about it, they helped prepare for it under the direction of the USSOUTHCOM, the US government and the elites that run the transnational corporations.
7. Paraguay is being transferred into the hands of transnational corporate power. Agribusiness and large-scale mining in particular require, among other things, slave labour, territories to exploit and to clear of people, censorship and the complete subservience of the population through violence and the systematic elimination of rights and freedoms. Paraguay is one more stage in the total imposition of this process. The occupation forces that have already invaded Colombia, Mexico, Honduras and Haiti now occupy Paraguay. What has happened in Paraguay is a step further towards a global fascist occupation for accumulation.
8. The elimination of social and popular movements and processes is underway in Paraguay. Censorship and propaganda are already being imposed. Terror and repression are being deepened. The machinery that has already implemented the “Colombia Model” is now applying its specific objectives to eliminate, one by one, all structures and forms of resistance. We see forced disappearances, torture, threats, and massacres, elaborate public accusations, the criminalization of social protest, the buying off of leaders, and the infiltration and cooptation of processes.
9. Capital and the corporate fascist Right have transformed their weaknesses into strengths(13). While losing elections, they have strategically used their machinery to pressure governments to get what they want. Every concession allows them to access spaces and retake power within established structures, fomenting and taking advantage of the frustrations of betrayed peoples. To win over the people and then govern for the Right generates weakness of the state and a sense of frustration among citizens. The Right delivers its greatest blow at precisely the moment in which a government that could not govern with and for the people is at its weakest stage. A progressive government that plays dumb while it cooperates fully with the Right walks directly into the path of a coup for capital. These are hard lessons for peoples and those who govern: one can never talk the talk of revolution while walking the walk of extractivist capital. Capital wins when condescending governments recklessly provide their stamp of approval for their projects. We, the people, lose.
10. This regime becomes even stronger when leftist parties, unions, NGOs, and social and popular organizations find accommodation within the system, engage in competition amongst themselves, and fight to maintain nothing more than their own privileges and places; their own particular benefits. This is worsened when those same institutions, organizations and peoples carry this out in the name of resistance. The result of this is a loss of prestige, credibility and confidence in parallel with the purchase of those who have a price. One way or another, the regime wins, and popular causes lose.
11. The coup in Honduras provides lessons for popular resistance in Paraguay: the coup conspirators calculate and include in their plans our reaction; they impose on us the character and meaning of our own struggle. They must stop, at any cost, our resistance to transnational capital and its interests. Inside the country, the people articulate a common face of resistance in coordinating mobilizations and actions. Outside of the country, we inundate ourselves with communiqués, news, analysis, denouncements and texts. Accompaniment and support is organized on the ground. The coup conspirators repress, implement propaganda, and wait. We get tired. Resistance wanes. The majority of messages fill inboxes, bore, have no effect, and remain as drafts, unsent. Resistance achieves no objectives and loses strategic meaning, concrete vision, and falls under the weight of the repressor. Terror, on the other hand, is imposed and takes its strategic objective: transforming a struggle of popular resistance to capital into a struggle for human rights. Without strategic capacity, those on the ground become disarticulated, solidarity is weakened, and actions that demonstrate our presence are smothered.
1. That Fernando Lugo and the legitimate government be re-established and that it once again take the path of the popular mandate it was elected to walk.
2. That the coup conspirators, led by Federico Franco and in the service of military and paramilitary apparatuses of terror in the function of transnational corporate interests, be isolated, removed from power, and brought to justice in such a way as to expose all those conspirators responsible, at the highest decision making level for the criminal act committed against the people of Paraguay and democracy in the Americas. Franco is but a face for a structure that ought not to continue to act with impunity and to be covered-up.
3. That the governments of the continent reject the coup in firm and clear terms and that they act coherently, immediately, both collectively and individually. For example, the legitimacy of UNASUR has not gained a legitimate mandate from the peoples of Latin America – neither in principle nor otherwise; that legitimacy must be achieved through its concrete and practical actions. We do not demand speeches or energetic declarations; we demand actions that defy the coup conspirators, expose the architecture of power and corporate interests that direct them, and do everything necessary to treat them as the criminals they are, returning to Paraguay (and all of Latin America) and its peoples, its territories, sovereignty, and process towards democracy that had been achieved through resistance and popular struggles. We do not and will not accept, never again, middle-of-the-road calculations that cover up lies, accommodate posturing and “practical” conveniences, such as that which happened with the illegitimate Lobo government in Honduras, which these governments ended up recognizing and legitimizing after posturing against them.
4. That solidarity among the peoples of Latin America not be subservient to the policies of states. Governments of the peoples govern by obeying the mandates and solidarity among those peoples. If agribusiness, extraction of resources, megaprojects and speculative corporate and financial capital dictate policies in the entire continent, there is no point in believing in governments that defend those interests. To reject the coup in Paraguay requires the weaving of popular agendas from below, from and with the people in each country and throughout the entire continent.
1. The “Frente Único para la Defensa de la Democracia” (Unites Front for the Defence of Democracy FDD in Spanish) as the articulated effort of resistance already established within Paraguay and that which brings together all popular sectors.
2. The priority in supporting the FDD and other legitimate efforts of coordinated and popular collective resistance in the urgent development of an agenda or strategic plan of popular resistance, with contextual analysis and clear objectives. This agenda will be essential for internal resistance in Paraguay as much as it necessary for effective and prolonged international solidarity and mobilization.
3. The need to establish FDDs in the entire continent and weave together mechanisms for strategic planning and organizing among the peoples through them.
4. The dire need to act in a preventive way in each country, from below, with peoples and organizations, to stop the repression and occupation by corporate totalitarian capital. A coup is one of many strategies of occupation that are being imposed. It is not enough to defend democracy in Paraguay. It is also necessary to organize resistance to the fascist occupation of capital in every territory and throughout the continent. To resist the coup in Paraguay is to resist the Conga project in Peru, rise up against large-scale mining, defend water, and oppose “free trade” and agribusiness, militarization, propaganda, repression, the criminalization of social and popular struggle and war. Wherever nature and labour are handed over for the accumulation of capital, we will rise up in resistance. Wherever they impose war, we will rise up for life. Wherever they deny our rights and freedoms to bestow on themselves more privileges, it is a threat and an attack to Mother Earth, hence, to all of us. The coup in Paraguay is against all peoples.
5. That they have plans that are being implemented everywhere. They have hierarchical structures that concentrate above, amongst groups of transnational elites, strategic capacity, clarity of objectives, and the means to carry them out. Paraguay makes clear the presence and power of this structure.
6. That each of us together, the peoples of Latin America (and Mother Earth) – those who oppose the power of transnational capital and its accomplices, administrators and representatives, beyond differentiating ourselves from them and recognizing in their actions their interests – need our own agendas and strategies so as to strengthen our own capacities and to recognize and not lose sight of our objectives. We must learn to resist and transform reality in favour of life all along the way of our resistance. Either we construct an America (and a world) of the peoples or we submit to the empire of capital. Today, we urgently need to support the people of Paraguay in their actions of strategic and effective resistance to the coup and to capital. The people decide it that way.
7. That an agenda of struggle and resistance from Paraguay will orient us in our solidarity efforts and focus us away from being smothered and becoming tired, and towards bringing us together within our capacities at the right time, finding each other and attaining results, so that we may learn in the process and teach each other how to resist and defend all that is ours and collective. If we lack our own agenda, we will continue to follow theirs. We must consolidate our agenda and make it our path.
In this moment of pain and anger as a result of the coup in Paraguay, we must focus and prioritize our capabilities, from our diversity, to support and articulate a strategic agenda of resistance and solidarity of the people. We commit to do what is necessary, what is within our power, to carry out that agenda with all the creativity and resolve of solidarity of and from the people. They have the memory of their crimes, which they learn from and use against us; we have our memory to resist and make the world our own, not for the purposes of greed and plunder but for justice and freedom in harmony with Mother Earth.
Together in resistance against the occupation and with the people of Paraguay.
All causes of the people and of life are our own!
“Never again an America without the People”
Nuestra America, June 27, 2012
2.Pueblos en Camino
3.Tejido de Comunicación y de Relaciones Externas para la Verdad y la Vida-ACIN, Cxab Wala Kiwe, Cauca, Colombia
4.Rete Italiana de Solidarietá Colombia Vive!
5.Alianza Social Continental
6.Movimiento 14 de Junio de los Corteros de Caña del Valle del Cauca, Colombia
7.Comunidad Pueblos Originarios de Awyayala, Rafaela, Santa Fe, Argentina
8.Colectivo Utopía Puebla. México
9.Universidad de la Tierra en Puebla. México
10.Frente de Pueblos en Defensa de la Tierra y Agua Morelos-Puebla-Tlaxcala. México
11.COLACOT, Confederación Latinoamericana de Cooperativas y Mutuales de Trabajadores. Venezuela
12. FENTAP, Federación Nacional de Trabajadores de Agua Potable del Perú
13.CAOI, Confederación Andina de Organizaciones Indígenas
14.The Polaris Institute
15.Unión Campesina Panameña. UCP
16.Comité Nacional de Amistad y Solidaridad con la Republica Bolivariana de Venezuela de Colombia, Junta Directiva Nacional. COMASOLVE
17. Colombia Vive, Massachussetts. EEUU
18.Comisión Justicia Solidaridad y Paz Colombia CRC
19.Alternatives, Montreal. Canadá
20.Federación Democrática Internacional de Mujeres para América Latina y el Caribe
21.Comunidad Ecuménica Martin Luther King. Chile
22.(CSMM), Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos “Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.” Ecuador
23.APCS, Agencia Popular de Comunicación Suramericana. Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Perú y Uruguay
24.Unión Solidaria de Comunidades (USC) del Pueblo Diaguita Cacano. Santiago del Estero, Argentina
25.Vivero Comunitario Wichan Ranquen, Río Cuarto, Córdoba. Argentina
26.FAPI. Federación por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos Indígenas. Paraguay
1.Manuel Rozental, Tejedor movimientos indígenas y populares, Brasil.
2.Pancho Castro, Periodista, Colombia
3.Carlos Vidales, Escritor, poeta, académico y activista colombiano. Estocolmo, Suecia
4.Carlos Jiménez, Activista y artista colombiano. España