I have always liked this country of red earth, mighty rivers and rough cobblestone streets. I have liked its bougainvillea, its long silent nights, and its endless open spaces.
But almost everything that could went wrong for the Paraguayan people, or at least for its indigenous majority.
Before Evo Morales became the President, Bolivia had been the most destitute country in South America. Paraguay was slightly “above it” – the second poorest nation. Now, most likely, it is the most deprived.
It is pitch dark outside, and the road is flooded. As in other extreme right wing countries worldwide, from Indonesia to Kenya, the drainage system is far from being a priority of the rulers.
One of the mightiest South American waterways – Rio Paraguay – is forming a national frontier between Argentina and Paraguay, two countries with similar cultures but diametrically different political systems.
Argentina is socialist, with free medical care and mostly free education. It has a progressive government. It sent its creditors, the World Bank and IMF, packing. It defaulted its debt, which was accumulated during the right-wing and pro-Western governments (Greece should study and follow Argentina’s model). It is increasingly close to other socialist Latin American countries, and also to non-Western powers like Russia and China.
Paraguay is a divided country. Even according to the BBC, fewer than 2 percent of the landowners are said to control 70 percent of its arable land. Other sources put the number to 75 percent and higher. Periodically, indigenous people demand their land back, and periodically, they get murdered.
Paraguay used to be the second poorest country in South America, right after Bolivia. But with enormous positive changes taking place in Bolivia during the last decade, Paraguay is now hitting the continent’s rock bottom.