An Indigenous Ayoreo woman holds her child in Campo Lorro (Parrot Field) in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay. Paraguayan Indigenous Rights and environmental groups describe Camp Lorro, the largest Ayoreo Indigenous settlement of captive Ayoreo people, a “concentration camp.”  PhotoLangelle.org

An Indigenous Ayoreo woman holds her child in Campo Lorro (Parrot Field) in the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay. Paraguayan Indigenous Rights and environmental groups describe Camp Lorro, the largest Ayoreo Indigenous settlement of captive Ayoreo people, a “concentration camp.” PhotoLangelle.org

The Pillaging of Paraguay       

Photographs and discussion on the disintegrating situation in Paraguay

Buffalo, NY (FEB. 12) – Photojournalist Orin Langelle and Global Justice Ecology Project’s Anne Petermann, who traveled to Paraguay in November of last year, will show photographs and speak about the extensive social and ecological destruction occurring in the landlocked South American country.

Their presentation will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Monday, February 23 in the Science Hall of Canisius College, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo.

Dr. Miguel Lovera, former President of Paraguay’s National Plant Protection Agency, during the government of Fernando Lugo [1] writes, “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…” [2]

Petermann, Executive Director of Global Justice Ecology Project, said, “Paraguay is literally being destroyed by industrial agriculture and cattle ranches.  In the east of the country, huge plantations of GMO soy are sprayed with lethal agro-toxins, poisoning whole communities and contaminating freshwater ecosystems.  In the west, massive incursions of livestock farming are leveling the Gran Chaco forest, forcing indigenous peoples to live as prisoners on there own land.”  She added, “There are still uncontacted indigenous Ayoreo people living in voluntary isolation in the remaining Chaco forest, but their very existence is at risk.”

“In 2009 I travelled to the Gran Chaco region of Paraguay with Dr. Miguel Lovera in a rare opportunity as an outsider to take photographs of indigenous Ayoreo in the village of Campo Lorro (Parrot Field), the largest compound of Ayoreo in captivity,” stated photojournalist Orin Langelle who will also show photos from that earlier trip. “When I visited Paraguay in the latter part of 2014, however, these compounds were being referred to as concentration camps due to the rapidly disintegrating situation in the Gran Chaco,” Langelle continued.

The event is presented by the Latin American Solidarity Committee and sponsored by Canisius Campus Ministry, Latin American Studies, and the Dept. of Modern Languages, Literatures & Cultures.

Dr. Lovera is a friend and colleague of Langelle and Petermann.

Contact: Kip Doyle [email protected]  +1 716 867 4080 (Media Coordinator, Global Justice Ecology Project)

Notes: [1] Fernando Lugo was President of Paraguay from 2008 to 2012. Previously he was a Roman Catholic priest and bishop who studied liberation theology. He served as Bishop of the Diocese of San Pedro and was known as “the bishop of the poor” from 1994 to 2005. He was elected as a center-leftist President in 2008. In 2012, he was removed from office through an impeachment process that neighboring countries deemed a right wing coup d’état.

[2] Excerpted from “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 here.