“All signs show that Paraguay, both its territory and its population, are under attack by conquerors, but conquerors of a new sort. These new ‘conquistadors’ are racing to seize all available arable land and, in the process, are destroying peoples’ cultures and the country’s biodiversity — just as they are in many other parts of the planet, even in those areas that fall within the jurisdiction of ‘democratic’ and ‘developed’ countries. Every single foot of land is in their crosshairs. Powerful elites do not recognize rural populations as having any right to land at all.” – Dr. Miguel Lovera

Photographs by Orin Langelle. Analysis at the end of the essay by Dr. Miguel Lovera from the case study: The Environmental and Social Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock Farming and Soybean Production in Paraguay. Dr. Lovera was the President of SENAVE, the National Plant Protection Agency, during the government of Fernando Lugo.

Woman holding photo of baby whose condition is blamed on Monsanto during a rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 December 2014. PhotoLangelle.org

Woman holding photo of baby whose condition is blamed on the dumping of agrotoxins is is shown during a rally in Asunción, Paraguay, 3 December 2014. PhotoLangelle.org

The major injustices toward the land and the people in Paraguay are large-scale genetically modified (GM) soy production by multinational corporations and deforestation due to unsustainable livestock production.

The expansion of soybeans and cattle in Paraguay is based on the theft of peasant and aboriginal communities’ land holdings and ancestral lands.

The key common characteristic underlying all large-scale rural production in Paraguay is that it is based on massive illegal land grabbing.

Soy - as far as the eye can see. PhotoLangelle

Soy – as far as the eye can see. PhotoLangelle.org

Soybeans are produced on the fertile soils of eastern Paraguay, the best soils in the country.

Most of the soy grown in Paraguay is Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready transgenic variety. Other U.S. transnational corporations involved in the soy business are Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland (ADM).

Small-scale farmers have been displaced (or worse) due to soy production and forced off the land to live in slums.

To combat "pests" on the soy crop, there are annual discharges of almost 27 million liters and 2.3 million kilograms of pesticides, figures that are growing as the land sown with GM soy increases. PhotoLangelle There is an annual discharge of almost 27 million liters and 2.3 million kilograms of pesticides, figures that are growing as the land sown with GM soy increases. PhotoLangelle

To combat “pests” on the soy crop, there are annual discharges of almost 27 million liters and 2.3 million kilograms of pesticides, figures that are growing as the land sown with GM soy increases. PhotoLangelle.org

Some 50% of the deforestation in eastern Paraguay is the conversion of forests to soy monocultures.

And the main environmental implication of the growth of intensive cattle ranching is deforestation.

The Chaco region is where most of the deforestation is being undertaken today to create pasture and establish cattle ranches. In 2013, 268,000 ha of forest were destroyed in the Chaco. Deforestation rates in this region were the highest in the world in 2013, reaching up to 2,000 ha/day.

The production of beef for export markets by very large-scale, predominantly Brazilian (70% of the meat export facilities are in Brazilian hands) cattle ranchers are by far the main cause of deforestation and indigenous land grabbing in the Chaco.

The Ayoreo Indigenous People of the Chaco have been in the way of development and many have been captured and confined to to “concentration camp” settlements.

Th largest Ayoreo camp is Campo Lorro. PhotoLangelle

The largest Ayoreo Indigenous “concentration camp” settlement is Campo Lorro. PhotoLangelle.org

However there are still uncontacted Ayoreo that live in voluntary isolation in the Chaco forest that remains.

A shelter in the Campo Lorro Ayoreo settlement.

An Ayoreo woman walks to her shelter in Campo Lorro. PhotoLangelle.org

Many parts of the Chaco (and other areas South of the Amazon) are far too remote and isolated to explore in detail so the possibility is high that there are additional communities living in voluntary isolation.

The following series of photographs were taken at the 3 December 2014 anti-Monsanto march and rally held in Asunción:

Ñamoseke Monsanto is an Urban Farmers Organization that helps coordinate the movement against Monsanto. PhotoLangelle

Ñamoseke Monsanto is an Urban Farmers Organization that helps coordinate the movement against Monsanto. PhotoLangelle.org

Leading the march to the Pantheon of Heroes. PhotoLangelle.org

Leading the march to the Pantheon of Heroes. PhotoLangelle.org

The technological approaches driven by the Green Revolution, now including genetically modified seeds and pesticides, have caused degradation of the fertile lands and loss of biodiversity across the country and the indiscriminate use of agrochemicals.

"Stop Fumigating US. Justice for the Victims of the Pesticides." PhotoLangelle.org

“Stop Fumigating Us. Justice for the Victims of the Pesticides.” PhotoLangelle.org

Agrotoxics + Death PhotoLangelle

Agrotoxics = Death PhotoLangelle.org

Some of the chemicals that the protesters at the rally clam Monsanto is responsible for include RoundUp, DDT, Dioxin and Agent Orange. PhotoLangelle.org

Some of the chemicals that the protesters at the rally clam Monsanto is responsible for include RoundUp, DDT, Dioxin and Agent Orange. PhotoLangelle.org

A spokesperson for the •Federación Nacional Campesina FNC speaks at the rally. PhotoLangelle

A spokesperson for the Federación Nacional Campesina (FNC) speaks at the rally. PhotoLangelle.org

A woman speaks from the Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). PhotoLangelle

Speaker from the Brazil’s Landless Workers Movement, Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra (MST). PhotoLangelle.org

An woman listens to the speakers. PhotoLangelle

A woman listens to the speakers. PhotoLangelle.org

A skit close to the end of the rally alludes to what Monsanto really wants. PhotoLangelle

A skit close to the end of the rally alludes to what Monsanto really wants. PhotoLangelle.org

During the skit Uncle Sam manipulate puppet depicting Horacio Cartes, President of Paraguay. PhotoLangelle

During the skit Uncle Sam manipulates the puppet depicting Horacio Cartes, President of Paraguay. PhotoLangelle.org

Business as usual – U.S. style

“An island surrounded by land” is how Paraguay is sometimes described partly because it is one of the two land-locked countries in the Western hemisphere (the other is Bolivia), but also because of its distinctive history and politics. Paraguay’s economic activity centers on agriculture and livestock, and in terms of land tenure presents the most unequal and unfair case of distribution worldwide.

Livestock and soy production (almost wholly of Monsanto’s Round Up Ready transgenic variety) are the most important primary production sectors. Most of the land in the country is privately controlled and devoted to these two commodities. Hence, most of the negative environmental and social impacts derive from these two activities. A vast proportion, about 96%, of the soybeans cultivated in Paraguay are destined for export as livestock feed. A majority of the cattle slaughtered each year in the country are also exported, with most of this trade controlled by a handful of multinational companies that form an oligopoly not only in Paraguay, but around the world.

– From the beginning of the excellent case study The Environmental and Social Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock Farming and Soybean Production in Paraguay prepared by Dr. Miguel Lovera on behalf of the Centro de Estudios e Investigacion de Derecho Rural y Reforma Agrara de la Universidad Catolica de Asuncion, Paraguay and Global Forest Coalition can be downloaded at this site.

Additionally, in 2009, I was in Paraguay and produced this Environmental Portrait photo essay, Ayoreo People of the Chaco – “Sharing the Eye.”

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Important Update from:logo

International Cry – IC MAGAZINE

DEATH THREATS AND DETENTION IN PARAGUAY

NEW REPORT DOCUMENTS CHALLENGES OF DEFENDING INDIGENOUS LAND RIGHTS IN THE PARAGUAYAN CHACO

by Fionuala Cregan
January 20, 2016

We don’t care if our struggle involves going to prison or even dying. Our struggle is about justice because the land is ours and our children’s.” –Alejandro Servín

When Alejandro Servin and five others members of the Enxet Sur indigenous community Kelyenmagategma returned home after two days in the woods hunting and collecting honey, little did they expect to be showered with bullets…Read more

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