Paraguay: Mario Abdo in Wonderland

By Alternativa Socialista

    While President Mario Abdo lives in his wonderful movie where he is the national hero, the whole country continues its course straight towards a cliff. Any person with common sense would find it unbelievable to hear the president say that the economy in Paraguay is in great shape, that the amount of sick people is among the lowest numbers in the region and that Paraguay with its management is an example for other countries to follow.

While giving these statements in his tour of Paraguarí, the country was actually burning in one of the biggest environmental catastrophes of the last decades by fires that were proven to have been caused on purpose. If we appear on international news, it is not precisely because we are an example to follow, in addition, the sick continue to fill the hospitals, without taking into account that in this country not only does covid-19 exist, but also many other diseases. Patients with other pathologies are excluded from medical care following a policy that comes from the ministry and from the high commands of health institutions, while nurses and doctors continue a struggle without quarter, working precariously. Formal workers carry out their work with fear of being persecuted and fired, despite the important struggles they carry out, it seems that the results are not seen, just as the firefighters who are volunteers and therefore are also forgotten by the state, both have suffered a lot. The latter, if it weren’t for the people who donated assistance, organized solidarity brigades and fought all over the country, would not have stopped the fires, and danger is still not over.

The contradictions at this point are insulting and no solution has been found to all the problems the country has gone through so far. There should be more staff in the target area and not the other way around, there should be sufficient supplies in the hospitals, that’s what the loans were for. It is a mockery that there are only 500 respirators. Moreover, no serious hospitals were built to care for the entire population, not only the patients of covid-19. So when Marito refers to the fact that the economy is doing well as well as health, who is he really referring to? Because it’s clearly not the Paraguayan working people. This pandemic continues to unveil a lot of obscene situations, but both the corporate press and the leading bureaucrats of the workers’ and labor movement have been bold enough so far to be able to divert the attention of the great masses. Who do Mario Abdo, the ministers and senators govern for?

It is important for the working people to be able to understand that the Paraguayan State is increasingly useless and inefficient, not guaranteeing our life and well-being as a society. That is to say, the set of institutions organized to carry out the policies promoted by the government and the senate only really make this enormous apparatus work for the benefit of a small sector of the population, for the Vierci, the Zucolillo, the Cartes and the Zavala, the landowners and foreign multinationals. This sector is extremely tiny next to the thick mass of Paraguayan workers in the countryside and the city, so it is necessary to be very clear that Mario, the ministers and the senate govern and legislate for that minority. They do not tire of saying it. When they mention that the economy is going well (it is going well for that minority) and when they say that there are not many sick people they are referring to that minority that obviously can be quarantined without any more conflicts than the exquisite psychological problems brought by the confinement, which in this context are a luxury because only a privileged minority can carry it out.

All fire is political, Paraguay burns!

 There is no other way to understand why if there is so much money in the country and there are so many riches,  millions of us live in permanent danger not only of getting sick, but of being left without work, without a roof, without education. It is clear that the priority for the government is a small minority. During the fires, the enormous apparatus was not used to solve anything, not even the Minister of the Environment appeared, even if it was to show a sad face. Most likely he was aware of what was going on and is even likely to be partly to blame. We must reflect on the fires that were shown to be intentional. Who generated them and why? Fires are always done in certain periods of the year to eliminate dry grass after winter so that new grass can grow, and this is done by large ranchers and large landowners. In addition, there are those who use this method for real estate speculation, because in this way forests and woods can be cleared more easily when tractors pass over them, so that they can own new land to plot it or sell it to monoculture. The fire in Cateura was news because of the damage it caused mainly to the nearby residents, but it was not news that the private company that owns Cateura did not let the firemen enter. Why? Because they generated it. Let’s think about it a little, the fire was massive and its purpose is to flatten the mountain of trash in order to dump more waste on the ashes. These cases did not only occur in Paraguay, but in the entire region. For all the people who fight for the dignity of humanity we have no other qualification than to call that small minority miserable cowards, who without disgust destroy the fauna and flora without showing their face. If the country was in the news it was because the sun went out at 3 o’clock in the afternoon. Let us hope that no other government wants to follow ours as an example.

The forecasts for the moment are not positive to be honest, among this salad of contradictions, we can add that since Monday the quarantine has been completely lifted. Actually, the complete quarantine was only applied for about 3 months (a period in which we were indebted for 2 billion dollars). After that time, when the phased quarantine appeared, it became impossible to sustain a real quarantine, since no one could stay in their homes, hunger and layoffs hit the home of each of the farm and city workers very hard and violently, as a result of the almost total absence of the state in assistance. Today, when the quarantine was completely lifted the situation that was already being experienced was formalized, confirming at the same time the total uselessness of the heads of state. Cases of covid-19 are still on the rise and it is likely that the situation will now overflow.

While it is true that it is not good to be afraid of covid-19, to respect it is the only thing we have left, because we cannot call something meaningless. If we cannot quarantine this country, it is the fault of those who govern us and of our economic and productive model, so for the time being we can expect more contagion and deforestation. Placing all our mistrust in this capitalist state and its functional apparatus, that is, the parties of the bourgeoisie and the sold out leaders of the trade union movement is the first step in seriously considering a real way out of the crisis.

There is a new blow coming and we have to be prepared.

For those of us who have been following the disastrous actions of this anti-popular government, one of the leaders of these actions is already well known. The Minister of Economy, Benigno López, has many nicknames that are well placed by the people as an insult while this unpresentable man insults millions of us every day. This gentleman, who is also the brother of the President, led one of the most controversial attempts of an internal economic reform in recent decades: the so-called “shrinking of the State,” which is nothing more than cuts and multimillion-dollar layoffs to necessary sectors such as health and education. At present, this gentleman prepared himself with all the weapons he had at hand to present the project on the General Budget of the Nation 2021 (GNP). This bill has to be approved by the Senate, where the need to cut the budget for education, specifically by 8% of what is usually allocated, is already openly stated. The same thing is being talked about in the area of health, but on the other hand they are proposing a debt for next year of more than 1.1 billion dollars.

 Under no circumstances can we allow this to happen without a fight. Today, people are confused, dazed and disoriented in the face of all the problems they have to face every week. It is the duty of all fighters and revolutionaries to reorient the masses to the real center of discussion. In that sense it is vital and necessary to promote a coordination of organizations representing the interests of the workers to repudiate Minister Benigno López and his plans, as well as the whole government that is keeping him in place. Education and the workers cannot pay for this crisis.

Why are new cuts and more debt being considered? Multi-million dollar loans and interest rates are the number one priority to be fulfilled by our dedicated national bourgeoisie to foreign capital. If we read the national newspapers, we will know concretely what we mean when we say, for example, that in the NGP an important part of fulfilling the commitments of the foreign debt is well established. Now, we are in a tailspin. As we had already said at the beginning of the pandemic when we warned that the 1.6 billion dollar loan would be stolen and distributed among their business and banking friends so as not to lose profits during the quarantine, today we are in danger again and we have the obligation to warn that if more money is lent, this situation could repeat itself.

As for health and education, cuts are being contemplated despite the fact that they are essential sectors. Even as students we had been fighting for the zero tariff, a project that the senators and deputies have completely changed, a struggle in the face of which we continue to support universal and permanent access to education, with the difference that we are serious and we propose that the only way for this to become a reality is if the billions of dollars in foreign debt are diverted to education and health. This is a question of political will and of rethinking national development priorities.

Today we face the need to reflect and to take action, because we cannot allow ourselves to be overtaken once again, so it is up to us to respond to something very important in order to have clarity about the future of our country:

“What role do we workers and our organizations in struggle really play,” and “what role should an anti-capitalist political alternative of the workers and people in general play?

            The workers are the most numerous social base, without us nothing works. However, we are the ones who are suffering in this society. Here we are all the oppressed, the youth and women, in the countryside and in society, we are the ones who get up early to look for our daily bread, this government of the businessmen and the bourgeoisie wants us to be poor, ignorant and divided so that they can get richer and richer at the expense of our daily work. In the General Budget of the Nation, we are once again excluded so that those who already have everything can continue like that; in different parts of the world the workers are rising up and bravely confronting the attempts of their governments to subject them and make them pay for the crisis, even in the US this is happening. We also had several episodes during the pandemic where we courageously took to the streets to reclaim what is ours.

Now we are in a process of dispersion and we have to fight this. We fighters have to raise a national coordination of organizations and carry out actions to set forth a bigger plan, a real plan of general national struggle against the exploiters and corrupt of this capitalist system, taking into account that in the final analysis the struggle must be basic politics and not just union politics. Therefore, it is fundamental to fight to build a strong political party of the workers and the oppressed in general, a real anti-capitalist alternative with a finished program of national transformation; to this end it is important to generate unity among the fighters, at the cry of

Out with Mario Abdo, benign López and the whole government!

Enough with the cuts, austerity and persecution!

More budget for education and health!

No to the payment of the illegitimate and usurious foreign debt!

Let us coordinate the national struggle, let us prepare a coherent plan of struggle that unifies all sectors democratically!

For a workers’ government!

A national constituent assembly to reorganize the country on a popular basis!

Let the working people not pay for the crisis!