Paraguay: indigenous Aché defend land with bows and arrows

On Oct. 11, the indigenous Aché community of Chupa Pou in Paraguay sent warriors armed with bows and arrows into a 2,000-hectare area to defend it from Brazilian farmers who had invaded the land. The Chupa Pou community not only claims the land as their traditional territory, but notes that in 2007 the Paraguayan government—after a struggle of many years—purchased the land for the Aché people, thus giving them legal title as well. The community’s stance did successfully get 250 Brazilian farmers to leave the area without bloodshed, after a local prosecutor was called in to mediate. However, the departing farmers they told the media that they would return.

The land in question is claimed by two Brazilian citizens—Luis Carlos and Volnei Ricardi—who say that they have rights to a total of 6,000 hectares in Paraguay. Some 250 Brazilian farmer colonists had moved on to the land in recent months, apparently with the approval of Carlos and Ricardi. Chupa Pou community leader Marciano Chevúgi announced that six Aché communities were mustered to join the stand to eject the farmers.

A Paraguayan prosecutor, Alba Bogado de Duarte, assisted in negotiating the removal of the Brazilians from the land, which is located in Ygatimí district, Canindeyú department, in the Paraná river valley. But with the Brazilians pledging to return, the reprieve may only be temporary. Antonio Alonzo, the attorney who handled Chupa Pou’s case in 2007, stated that both the constitution of Paraguay and international law are on the side of the Aché. Alonzo, said anyone else using the lands in question would amount to an unconstitutional taking of property. (Indigenous News, Chile, Oct. 12; Ultima Hora, Asunción, Télam, Argentina, Oct. 11)

See our last post on the struggle in Paraguay.

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