Resistance and Nonviolence to the coup d'etat in Paraguay

Statement of War Resisters' International

War Resisters’ International, a network of 83 organisations from 42 countries, maintain our founding declaration of 1921 that “War is a crime against humanity. I am therefore determined not to support any kind of war, and to strive for the removal of all causes of war.” At our 2012 Council meeting in the city of Bilbao, Basque Country, we make the following statement:

1.- We oppose the influence of the Armed Forces and their values in Latin American societies. These have served to legitimate and maintain the inequalities and injustices present in each nation.

2.- War Resisters’ International will always condemn disrespect for the popular will and constitutional processes in Latin America epitomised by coups d’etat carried out with the support - explicit or not - of the military.

3.- We reject the parliamentary coup that took place in Paraguay on 22 June 2012, and its spurious justification by an illegitimate and irregular political process that ignores the will of the majority and democratic institutions. Furthermore, we condemn the events in the district of Curuguaty, in the department of Canindeyu, where a land occupation was repressed, resulting in the death of 11 peasants and 6 police personnel.

4.- The parliamentary coup illustrates once again the political legacy of Latin American military dictatorships that enable political parties and police and military forces to resort to force and violence to deal with conflicts, especially those which challenge their power and legitimacy, so casting aside dialogue and democracy. This cultural heritage has taken hold in Paraguay and is manifested in the illegitimate de facto government, which every day is developing policies that only serve to benefit transnational corporations and the Paraguayan oligarchy.

5.- We condemn the repression and political persecution that the de facto Paraguayan government is carrying out against activists, including prosecution, incarceration, and the dismissal of huge numbers of public workers who have not expressed their support for the parliamentary coup. We also denounce the lack of political will to investigate and condemn what occurred in Curuguaty.

6.- We support and value the nonviolent popular resistance carried out by the people and community-based organisations demanding the restoration of democracy, as well as an end to repression and the criminalisation of social movements, which are especially harmful to peasant communities. Given our anti-militarist and nonviolent values, we express solidarity with these peaceful initiatives, whose statement of principles is based on civil disobedience.

7.- This resistance is against a coup that has reversed any process of democratisation. This coup attacks social movements, encourages the police to revert to the authoritarian practices of the days of dictatorship, favours GMO multinationals and opposes the struggle for food sovereignty and agrarian reform. As well as promoting homophobic and misogynist discourses, it has criminalised the fight for a right to abortion and has cut funding for health policies that particularly benefit women. The resistance is a struggle to which - daily and continuously - common people bring all their strength.

We call on all local groups and international human rights organisations to actively join the resistance by the people of Paraguay, and all of Latin America, against militarism.

Bilbao, 25 September 2012
International Council of War Resisters’ International