On December 16, 2012, BBC published its third article of the year on Paraguay’s Curuguaty Massacre in which were killed six police officers and eleven landless farmers. Although BBC’s comments and language are candid and balanced, it fails to acknowledge that charges pressed against the farmers who rose up in arms against the police are just among the few charges being brought against such suspects over the last four years in Paraguay, when former former President FernandoLugo was running the show.
BBC fails to examine the legacy inherited by the current government, under President Federico Franco, in which many violent attacks orchestrated by the Paraguayan People’s Army (Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo) continue to be unresolved up to this day. No one is brought before justice, whereas President Franco’s current administration in cooperation with an independent court system and has gone one extra mile to bring to justice some of the criminals who are responsible for this tragic massacre.
The incidents at Curuguaty caught the national police force unprepared and sadly caused the loss of six police officers. Among them – immediately after a brief negotiation with the landless farmers group – was Erven Lovera, who will shot do death while leading this police operation. Officer Erven Lovera was a graduate of the FBI academy and had been trained on multiple occasions in the United States.
The BBC has not revealed that the landless farmers had placed booby trap bombs in their tents, emplaced beneath sleeping mattresses which were meant to explode while being searched by police officers during a second phase of the operation.
The BBC also fails to share with the public the complete list of police officers who lost their lives in the crime. They are Erven Lovera, Osvaldo Sanchez, Jorge Alfirio Rojas Ferreira, Wilson David Cantero Gonzalez, Derlis Ramon Benitez Sosa, Juan Gabriel Godoy Martinez. Most of these officers were shot in the head, leading many observers to conclude that this was the work of snipers with shoot-to-kill orders.
Additionally. the names of the squatters killed are Luciano Ortega, Adelino Espínola, two brothers Luis Agustín and Fermín Paredes González, Ricardo Frutos Lara, Adolfo Castro, Nelson Ruiz Díaz, De Los Santos Agüero, Andrés Riveros García, Delfín Ugarte and Francisco Ayala.
The BBC report said that, “Prosecutors in Paraguay have filed charges against 14 farmers allegedly involved in a land dispute which resulted in the killing of 17 people.” However, there are 17 farmers who are being prosecuted and the BBC source does not specify the charges that each one of them has to face.
The list of suspects includes: Rubén Villalba,Felipe Martínez Balmori, Luis Olmedo Paredes, Adalberto Castro Benítez, Arnaldo Quintana, Néstor Castro, Lucía Agüero, María Fani Olmedo, Dolores López Peralta, Rilsy Raquel Villalba and their charges as BBC correctly states “range from murder to criminal association and land invasion.”
As perhaps one of a few Americans who was in Paraguay when this armed conflict was taking place, in Marina Cue, Curuguaty, I must emphasize that this tragedy has changed forever the lives of the victims’ families, brought a drastically new direction to Paraguayan foreign policy causing a political isolation for the country and marginalizing its opportunities for international commerce. Hope remains high for BBC to conduct further reports that depict the situation in Paraguay with more details, facts and in a more accurate perspective.