While the former dictator of Paraguay may have gone to that military academy in the sky, something fishy is going on in the South American nation that lends just a little bit of legitimacy to Hugo Chavez‘s claims that the U.S. is digging its imperialist claws into Latin America.
In May of 2005, the Paraguayan Senate voted to allow U.S. troops to operate in Paraguay with total immunity. Washington had threatened to cut off millions in aid to the country if Paraguay did not grant the U.S. troops entry. In July of 2005 hundreds of U.S. soldiers arrived in the country, and Washington’s funding for counterterrorism efforts in Paraguay doubled. The U.S. troops conducted various operations and joint training exercises with Paraguayan forces, including so-called Medical Readiness Training Exercises (MEDRETEs). Orlando Castillo, a military policy expert at the human rights rights organization Servicio, Paz y Justicia in Asunción, Paraguay, says the MEDRETEs were “observation” operations aimed at developing “a type of map that identifies not just the natural resources in the area, but also the social organizations and leaders of different communities.”
But some signs indicate that the people of Paraguay were being used as guinea pigs, and at worst were being socially cleansed.
Patients said they were often given the same treatments regardless of their illness. In some cases, the medicine produced hemorrhages and abortions. When the medical treatment took place, patients reported that they were asked if they belonged to any kind of labor or social organization. Among the leaders of such organizations, dozens have been disappeared and tortured in recent years, just as they were during Latin America’s “dirty wars” in the Reagan era.
While those 2005 troops MAY have left Paraguay, paramilitary strength has grown and we all know that the US has nothing to do with South American paramilitary orgs.