View Full Version : Insurgency in Paraguay

04-30-2010, 07:35 PM
I've been following latest news about the insurgency in Paraguay. It's called "Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo" (Paraguayan People's Army).
Last week the group killed 3 civilians and 1 police man.

The government declared state of exception in some districts. In those, checkpoints have been set, and there are increasing intelligence operations. In a joint operation (http://www.ultimahora.com/notas/317772-Operativo-Py'a-Guapy:-Militares-y-polic%C3%ADas-realizan-primeras-incursiones) called Py'a Guapy, police and military are searching the place for guerrilla members. San Pedro district saw increasing military controls (http://www.ultimahora.com/notas/317443-En-San-Pedro-incrementan-control-rutero) on the streets. Newspaper says people agrees with the operations.

In another episode (http://www.ultimahora.com/notas/318016-Peón-relata-cómo-fue-retenido-en-Yby-Yau-por-3-presuntos-integrantes-del-EPP), a country man was "detained" temporarily by three guerrilla members, and interrogated; looking for information about the military operation and why there were helicopters flying over the place. He was released shortly after.

Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo seeks to grant "charte blanche" to the military. The new law (http://www.perfil.com/contenidos/2010/04/29/noticia_0007.html) would allow the military to use weapons of war in places where the state of exception wasn't declared. It intends to facilitate the military's job.

It's a very delicate situation the government is trying to handle very early, before it grows unmanageable. There is some worry in Argentina, fearing the guerrilla could take refuge in its northern provinces, where border security is loose.

Ken White
04-30-2010, 10:15 PM
made any public announcements of their goals or intent?

Thanks for posting that -- we don't get nearly as much South American news as we should...

05-01-2010, 12:54 AM
There is little information about them, I haven't seen any EPP (Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo) statement; if I see any I will translate it. Paraguayan media doesn't cover the topic as extensively as I would expect.

As far as I know, they are a marxist-leninist group, and want an agrarian reform. They are highly critical of President Lugo and say he belongs to the "oligarchy" (in Latinamerica, the term is often associated to the rich land owners, opposed to the peons and poorer workers).
The group was founded in 2008, and made some kidnappings, but in the last months they increased their agressiveness. They obtain funds from ramsons and are suspected to be involved in narcotraffic activity.


More about the law I talked about in the previous post:
Clarín, one of the most important Argentinian newspapers, says (http://www.clarin.com/diario/2010/04/30/elmundo/i-02189699.htm) Paraguayans fear human right abuses by police, that's why Lugo decided to trust the army for this task.
The newspaper also says that the EPP leadership is composed by 10 persons. They hide in the mounts (Paraguay has many).


Brazil involvement:
Brazil is heavily involved in fighting EPP. On Monday, Brazilian President Ignacio da Silva will meet Lugo in Paraguay to discuss the topic. Surprisingly, Brazil's security services will organize security of the two while Da Silva is in Paraguay (!).
Da Silva said that EPP is a problem caused by internal situation in Paraguay. However, also revealed (http://www.ansa.it/ansalatina/notizie/notiziari/brasil/20100430204535071936.html) that Brazilian Federal policed is taking part in the inquiry to find those responsible of the EPP failed assassination attempt on a Paraguayan senator (he didn't die, two of his aides did). 1,500 Brazilians living in Paraguay left the country because of the violence. Brazil increased frontier security in the border with Paraguay.

05-01-2010, 01:04 PM
Today Perfil, one the most important Argentinian newspapers, published (http://www.perfil.com/contenidos/2010/04/30/noticia_0022.html) a profile of EPP. I translated it quickly, so it has some errors, but I think it can be read:

Who are the guerrilla that puts Paraguay in check?

The Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo operates since 2008.

The country is hacked by the Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo, a paramilitary group composed by only 15 persons who has the whole population on the edge; President had to declare the state of siege in some zones and deploy a wide military operation.

The Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo (EPP) says it was founded the 1st of March 2008, months before Lugo took office, in the city of Horqueta, in the north of the country, in the region of Concepción. Their first hit was 15 days after that, when they torched machinery used for agricultural work in a 20,000-hectare field of soy owned by a brazilian businessman.

That's how the group's ideology was presented, they claim to be marxist-leninist and seek to overthrow the government of Fernando Lugo, they consider him an "agent of the oligarchy", and say he doesn't makes a real agrarian reform. EPP is led by Manuel Cristaldo Mieres, Magna Meza, Osmar Martínez, Alcides Oviedo and Carmen Villalba; she [the last name] was the first to claim responsability for the guerrilla acts from prision, where she is serving a 19 year term for a kidnapping. Many of the conbatants were part of "Partido Patria Libre" [Free Homeland Party], and it is said that its members have ties with the FARC [Colombian narco-guerrilla].

In December 2008, EPP assaulted a military compound in Tacuatí, where they stole weapons and set it on fire. "We have to destroy everything and build a Socialist Republic from scratch, it is the only way to solve the country's problem", claimed Villalba from prision. The 29th of April 2009, a cleaning worker found a bomb in the Palace of Justice of Paraguay; she alerted the security staff, and they took it out of the building, where it exploded. EPP again claimed for the attempt.

The guerrilla group also kidnapped businessmen. The 31st of July 2008 they captured the cattle rancher Luis Alberto Lindstron: they freed him 43 days later, after a USD 300,000 ransom was paid. On 15th October 2009, another cattle rancher, FIdel Zavala Serrati was kidnapped in his ranch; EPP forced his family to donate meat to poor communities of the country, the rancher was freed 94 days later.

EPP still operating in the North of Paraguay, and has the potential to cause damage; though it has no more than 15 members, according to experts. That's why President Lugo decided to declare "state of exception" (state of siege) in five northern provinces for 30 days, to pave the way for military actions. "The main objective of the state of exception is to capture EPP members, who commited a series of horrible crimes in Paraguay", said the President in a press conference. He also supervised in person the deployment of 3,000 military personel and the police in Concepción, 500kms north of the capital city, to capture the guerrilla group, AFP news agency reported.

The article says that EPP has 15 members, but I think it is wrong. I followed the source they cite and it says that the group operates in 10-person cells.

I hope it helps to shed some light on this topic, which received little attention in world press.

09-02-2015, 10:28 AM
A rare British journalist report from Paraguay and on this little known group:http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/aug/31/paraguay-guerrillas-epp-aca

The article starts with:
But in the heart of South America, a relative latecomer to armed struggle is running rings around the authorities – provoking dark mutterings that the state itself is complicit in the group’s existence

How big is the group?
The splinter group now consists of perhaps seven fighters, including the leader’s teenage sisters and pregnant 15-year-old girlfriend.

In total, the EPP and its founders have killed more than 50 people – 25 in the past two years alone – of whom 30 were civilians and 21 police or military personnel.

08-28-2016, 11:49 AM
In a rare BBC report the EPP remain active:
An ambush on a military patrol in Paraguay has left at least eight soldiers dead.The country's interior minister said the soldiers had been on a routine mission when they were attacked with explosives and gunfire. Francisco de Vargas said it was likely the gunmen were part of the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP). The attack took place near the village of Arroyito, some 500km (300 miles) north of the capital, Asuncion.Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-37206562

A March 2016 BBC Country Profile helps to understand:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-19978115

Tobacco magnate Horacio Cartes won a five-year presidential term in April 2013, beating main rival and Liberal Party candidate Efrain Alegre. His victory returned the right-wing Colorado Party to the executive office it held for six decades.....Mr Cartes is one of Paraguay's wealthiest people and part of the tiny elite that controls just about everything in the country.