US troops to Paraguay
On May 27, Servicio Paz y Justicia (SERPAJ) Paraguay condemned an agreement approved by the Paraguayan Congress which will allow US troops into the country for an 18-month training and advisory mission from June 1, 2005 through December 31, 2006. The agreement grants full immunity from prosecution to all US personnel involved in the mission. Congress approved the agreement--apparently at the end of last year--with no debate and behind closed doors, and the public was largely unaware of it, according to SERPAJ Paraguay. "No one knows the extent of these accords and the dangers of a US strategy to violate them," the group warned.
SERPAJ also noted that the type of instruction that US troops will provide to the Paraguayan military is unclear, "which is very dangerous to us, especially taking into account that it was US soldiers who taught torture and other forms of human rights violations in courses at the School of the Americas under the National Security Doctrine." US soldiers are already a common sight in the Chaco region of Paraguay, reports Stella Calloni, a correspondent for the Mexican daily La Jornada. (La Jornada, May 31; TerritorioDigital.com, June 1)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 5
See also WW4 REPORT #59