| 20-12-2018

Land and justice for peasant families in Marina kue, Curuguaty

Dozens of families denounce Paraguay’s failure to resolve the land conflict

On December 1, the Paraguay Social Platform for Historical Memory, Democracy, and Human Rights, in collaboration with FIAN International, visited the community of Marina kue and verified their living conditions. This community has been in a situation of occupation since the Curuguaty massacre six years ago.

On June 15, 2012, 17 people - eleven peasants and six policemen - were killed during a police eviction operation of landless peasant families who had been residing in an area known as Marina Kue, in the Curuguaty district. In July 2016, eleven peasants were sentenced to up to 35 years in prison in a trial marred by arbitrary actions and decisions. The death of these peasants and the alleged human rights violations have never been investigated by the Paraguayan Public Ministry. On July 26, 2018, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court repealed the sentences against the peasants

The "Curuguaty massacre" has become known as one of the gravest cases of human rights violation and criminalization in the context of social struggles in Latin America. The story behind this event is about a people's demand for access to land and adequate food.

Reclaiming land to live with dignity

For 15 years, peasant farmers in the Marina kue region have been demanding the land they were promised in the agrarian reform, which has been illegally appropriated by landowners. The National Constitution of Paraguay orders, in Articles 114-116, the implementation of the agrarian reform.

Considering the increasing number of undernourished  people and the very high concentration of land ownership (both of which tend to exacerbate in Paraguay), the country's failure to implement the agrarian reform program constitutes a violation of its obligation to progressively fulfill the right to adequate food. Without real agrarian reform, peasant families cannot access the land and other productive resources necessary to work sustainably and live with dignity.

The Right to Truth

During our visit to the community and the subsequent discussion, Rubén Villalba, a former political prisoner in the Curuguaty case and member of the Platform, emphasized: "It is essential that we raise awareness and organize so that the human rights that are recognized by law, but not applied by the State can truly be fulfilled for all people." Members of the community stressed that for them the struggle for the right to truth and justice will continue until the events of June 15, 2012 and the deaths of the 17 people are investigated without bias.
In a statement from the Paraguay Social Platform for Historical Memory, Democracy and Human Rights and FIAN, they demand that the Paraguayan government conduct an impartial investigation of the Curuguaty massacre and cease all forced evictions, and implement a comprehensive agrarian reform as well. The organizations will accompany the community of Marina Kue throughout this process until the facts are cleared up and until the Marina kue land is in the hands of the peasant farmers.

See the     statement from the Paraguay Social Platform for Historical Memory, Democracy, and Human Rights and FIAN International

See the     Report on Agrarian Conflicts and the Criminalization of Peasants in Paraguay: The Marina Kue Case and the "Curuguaty Massacre"