On March 5th, we participated in a massive demonstration in Asunción against Mario Abdo Benítez’s corrupt, criminal government. Thousands of young people from diverse backgrounds went out into the streets to display their rage against the government and to shout “Everyone must go, don’t let anyone stay!”
Statement of The Workers’ Party (Spanish: Partido de los Trabajadores) – Paraguay, translated to English by Carlos Jara
The pent up rage against the government’s policies during the current crisis, against its laziness and corruption in the face of the people’s suffering, has finally erupted. Today’s protest came about spontaneously, without anyone in particular organizing it ahead of time.
The call to protest spread over social media a few days prior, and awakened a massive, united wave of anti-government sentiment across the entire country. We marched alongside this spontaneous demonstration, and we welcome this new expression of militancy and rage, just as we condemn the repression and violence brought on by the police as the day of protest drew to a close.
An Unusual Act
In the course of its repression against the protesters, the police ran out of rubber bullets to fire, and resorted to throwing rocks at the crowds. Amazingly, the police eventually flew white flags to call for a ceasefire and a halt to hostilities, an unprecedented act. Based on this occurrence, we presume that the police were given an order to limit their violence, and to avoid causing more casualties or deaths that could bring about judicial hearings against President Abdo Benítez.
Protests are ongoing and the situation is tense in the center of the capital as crowds call for the President’s resignation.
Horacio Cartes in the shadows
In the days leading up to the protests, it looked like there may have been a possibility that the protests would be led primarily by the internal opposition against President Abdo Benítez within the Colorado Party, led by ex-President Horacio Cartes, and using infiltrators to incite violence and set the stage for a renewal of impeachment hearings against Abdo Benítez.
Such a series of events could strengthen the position of the establishment faction within the Colorado Party, or a successful impeachment that would put Cartes and his supporters back in power. Note that head of the Senate, Oscar Salomón has an establishment background (in the Añetete movement) and kept his distance from Abdo Benítez as events unfolded, perhaps because Cartes is working to win Salomón over to his faction. Meanwhile, the head of the Chamber of Deputies, Pedro Alliana, is Cartes’s puppet.
Our stance is clear: we want an end to the current corrupt government headed by Mario Abdo Benítez, and we also denounce the schemes of Horacio Cartes and his gang of cronies. Neither Abdo Benítez nor the Cartist-LLanist mafia! Both of them have demonstrated that they govern only for the rich.
We believe that the only way out of the current crisis is to convene elections, as not a single representative currently in government retains the trust of working people of Paraguay. We believe in the strength of working class organizations, and that this is the moment for them to break with establishment politics and propose an emergency plan to remedy the current crisis that addresses the needs of our class, organized through the methods of workers’ democracy, the only form of democracy that we believe in.
The original text can be found in Spanish here
1. “Cartists” refers to supporters of Horacio Cartes. “Llanists” refers to followers of Blas Llano, a leader of a faction of the Authentic Radical Liberal Party (Spanish: Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico)