Paraguay: A Laboratory for Latin America’s New Militarism
Benjamin Dangl writes in Toward Freedom:
Two soldiers in Paraguay stand in front of a camera. One of them holds an automatic weapon. John Lennon’s “Imagine” plays in the background. This Orwellian juxtaposition of war and peace is from a new video posted online by US soldiers stationed in Paraguay. The video footage and other military activity in this heart of the continent represent a new style of militarism in Latin America.
Paraguay’s long-time dictator, General Alfredo Stroessner collaborated with the region’s other dictators through Operation Condor, which used kidnapping, torture and murder to squash dissent and political opponents. Stroessner’s human rights record was so bad that even Ronald Reagan distanced himself from the leader. Carrying on this infamous legacy, Paraguay now illustrates three new characteristics of Latin America’s right-wing militarism: joint exercises with US military in counterinsurgency training and monitoring of social organizations, the use of private mercenaries for security and the criminalization of social protest through “anti-terrorism” tactics and legislation.