Essential but disposable material. That is what peasants and popular classes mean to politicians. â€˜El Oviedismoâ€™ (the political philosophy of ex-general Lino Oviedo and his followers) has proven once again that deception is one of its main weapons.
Aureliano Vega is 57 years old, although he looks much older with his grey hair and weather beaten face. He sits on a bed in the A & E ward of the hospital holding a scrap of paper with a telephone number given to him by DarÃo Peralta, a parliamentary member of the Oviedista party, who invited him and 40 others to travel from Horqueta to AsunciÃ³n “to see Lino Oviedo”.
Nearby stands 43 year-old Eugenio Salinas, who ekes out a living from selling oranges in CaagazÃº. His gauntness portrays the taxing life he has led,
They are both recovering from rubber bullet wounds inflicted by the police during the chaos caused by Oviedista leaders last Monday as part of a conspiracy favouring a new military adventure (coup),. These leaders are taking advantage of the ignorance, innocence and basic needs of hundreds of their fellow citizensâ€™. In the cruel reality of a country immersed in misery, these poor people fall prey to the devices of unscrupulous con men disguised as politicians.
Deception has always been a part of politics in this country. Representatives from all parties have frequently turned to it during electoral campaigns, making promises as they step into power that get blown away by the wind. But this time, with the events of Monday the 15th, the practise of conning and cajoling reached heights that have never been reached before
There are reasons for this. The ground has been well prepared as a result of declining standards of living, and of a depreciation of the usefulness of democracy as a political system in Paraguay – less than 23% value it. That is why characters like ex-general Oviedo have pulling power here. He suggested the â€˜chairâ€™ as a means to eradicate crime. And while traveling through the poorer parts of the country, he handed out mirrors to the public. However, they (the heads of political parties) have had to resort to telling even bigger lies in order to gain peopleâ€™s confidence. They gave out invitations to see the capital and to witness the new Congress being built, visit the Exposition in Mariano Roque Alonso, or take one of the many other tours of the city.
These are the new ploys used by Oviedistas to pull people. Even though it may be hard to prove now, money was also offered to professional troublemakers to join the throng that was demanding GonzÃ¡lez Macchiâ€™s resignation on Monday. The plan, of course, was thwarted. Some of these demonstrators were twice deceived by their organizers. For example, a group of 40 from a farming community in Horqueta was brought in and later abandoned, without food, in one of Unaceâ€™s command posts at Fernando de la Mora.
Deception is more likely to succeed in poor and ignorant communities. It is a challenge to come up with some method to stop these elusive country people and the unemployed from being used as cannon fodder.
50 thousand guaranies per day
According to the accounts of some of the demonstrators in Ciudad del Este, where the most violent disturbances took place, they were offered 50 thousand guaranies per day. Their job was to demonstrate and to hold out in the place for at least 15 days. Among the detained there were many common criminals who were later charged for causing a disturbance.
6 wounded and hospitalized
Up until yesterday 6 people with wounds from Mondayâ€™s violent encounters had been hospitalized in the Medical Emergencies Hospital. Among these was Carmen Rojas-NÃºÃ±ez, a girl who was hit by a plastic bullet in the abdomen during the clampdown on demonstrators in CaaguazÃº. She was hoping that someone would help her pay her return trip after being discharged yesterday.
Nothing to do with it
42 year-old Eugenio Salinas was picking oranges to take them to market in CaaguazÃº on Monday. As he approached the town, the police charged a group of demonstrators and he was hit in the back by a plastic bullet. For him politicians are “pure history”. He affirmed that he had nothing to do with the Oviedistas. “Iâ€™m not interested in â€˜flying the colorsâ€™ (political parties). The only clear thing for me is that if you donâ€™t work you donâ€™t eat,” he said
translated by ZNet Volunteer Robert Ross