Southern Cone

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.

Mapuche protest abuse of Chilean terror laws to OAS

While Chilean ex-Minister of the Interior, Jose Miguel Insulza, assumes the post of Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General, Chile’s indigenous Mapuche bring their case to that same organization, accusing the Chilean government of human rights violations. Having exhausted resources for the Mapuche leader’s defense, the denunciation is being presented before the OAS with the objective of restoring the honor of the Mapuche authority, and securing an end to the use of anti-terrorism legislation against the Mapuche people.

Brazil's Workers Party denies FARC claim

Brazil's ruling Workers' Party rejected a claim by a leading weekly magazine that Colombia's FARC guerrillas donated $5 million to its candidates for the 2002 elections. In an eight-page cover story, Veja magazine said that it had been given access to secret documents of Brazil's Intelligence Agency (ABIN) showing that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) offered aid. Veja said that a FARC representative in Brazil, Father Oliverio Medina, made the offer during a meeting on April 13, 2002, at a small farm outside Brasilia. A secret service agent infiltrated the meeting. In a statement March 12, Workers' Party President Jose Genoino contradicted the Veja story, headlined "FARC's tentacles in Brazil," calling it irresponsible and stating that the allegations lacked proof. He said that Veja failed to print any documents showing financial links between the Workers Party and FARC. (Reuters, March 13)

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