NEW YORK CITY, July 6 — PLP rallied today in front of the Paraguayan embassy, in solidarity with the thousands of workers and farmers marching in the capital city of Asuncion. We condemned the parliamentary coup by the big landowners of Paraguay and their U.S. imperialist backers. PLP noted that Fernando Lugo, the ousted president, had never been a friend of the working class despite his progressive rhetoric. It will take communist revolution to change the grinding racist exploitative system in Paraguay, not liberal reform or a version of Hugo Chavez’s “21st century socialism.”
The opportunist Liberal Party and the fascist Colorado Party united to oust President Ferdinand Lugo, a former bishop who campaigned as the friend of farmers and workers. His election four years ago ended a vicious 40-year rule by the landlord-dominated Colorado Party. He was part of the reform movement in Latin America associated with the Bolivarian movement, including the reform leadership of Venezuela, Bolivia, and Brazil. In response to the coup, Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela have recalled their ambassadors and refuse to recognize the new government. The U.S. jumped to support the new regime.
Why a coup? For the ruling class, Lugo was not aggressive enough in fighting a new guerilla movement — Ejercito del Pueblo Paraguayo (EPP) the Paraguayan People’s Army — which has allegedly engaged in bombings, political murders and high profile kidnappings in support of landless peasants in Paraguay. The bosses did not want to hear about any kind of land reform either.
About two weeks ago, farmers occupied the land of a right-wing caudillo (leader) in the town of Curuguaty. The police were sent in to remove the squatters and a gun battle broke out. Sixteen people died including both police and farmers. Lugo was accused of negligence in the deaths and the Liberal Party and Colorado Party seized on the event to launch impeachment proceedings. Many forget to mention that several years ago under Colorado President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, over 400 died in the Ycua Bolanos Supermarket fire, when the managers locked the doors.
Battle of Ideas within the Movement
Many leaders, students and workers felt that the “Big Front” (Frente Guazu) of four years ago that brought Lugo to power would deal a blow to the ruling class and mean change, progress and a step towards socialism. For the past seven years, PL’ers have distributed CHALLENGE to many of these activists, trying to spread the message that these reform electoral alliances would inevitably sell out to the oligarchy for a piece of the pie and betray the working class, as has happened. PLP warned that elections in the capitalist system were not the way towards liberation. And so it has come to pass. Lugo did little, if anything, for the working class, yet the bosses were still not satisfied and put in their preferred puppet.
Lugo is vowing to create an alternative government; the people are in the streets and will struggle until presidential elections in April. Then, Lugo’s alliance mostly made up of workers, unions, farmers and several parties including the pro-Chavez PMAS (Party Moving Towards Socialism) are supporting a former journalist and morning talk show host Mario Ferreiro. This candidate only recently claimed to be a socialist, and will undoubtedly follow the same opportunist path as Lugo.
Workers and farmers must stand by the line that no socialist alliance with capitalists will bring workers in Paraguaya the bread and freedom they need. Only communist revolution can move the working class forward with the complete destruction of the capitalist system — no trace of wages, capitalist electoral circuses, Bolivarian alliances, or ties to the bosses of China, Russia, the European Union or MERCOSUR (the South American bloc). Building PLP in Paraguay and fighting uncompromisingly for a communist workers’ state can succeed in our genuine liberation from capitalism and imperialism.