Occu.Py: Mass protests in Paraguay against Corruption

UPDATE: Paraguay's Senate caves to citizen pressure and overwhelmingly votes against the proposed budget increase that would have used $15 million to create 10,000 political hires merely months before a presidential and congressional election.

Paraguayans Protesting Government Corruption on Friday, May 26 (h/t: ABC Color)

Thousands of Paraguayans from all walks of life are massing in Asunción to protest against corruption in a swift, sudden swell of public anger whose intensity has caught the political establishment by surprise.

Recently, the House of Deputies (the lower house in congress) voted to approve an additional $50 million for the Electoral Commission (TSJE, its acronym in Spanish). These are basically new political hires just before an election year and there's been an immediate public backlash against cronyism. Thousands are gathering today and tomorrow, when the Senate is scheduled to vote on the measure. Paraguay's President Lugo has promised to veto the measure. (Just for a bit of perspective on what $50 million means in Paraguay: Paraguay's population is about 6 million and the average income is about $1200 annually.)

"Senate: We are watching... If you reschedule the vote, we'll be there, too. Revolution."
Paraguayans are enraged that money is being spent on what is effectively vote-buying, rather than on health or education or job creation.

And the protests are fascinating: graffiti on buildings near the capital, Facebook campaigns that are drawing thousands to march in front of the National Congress building. The political pressure is so great that the established political parties (who voted for the $50 million) are now telling their members to not challenge President Lugo's veto.

"What Would You Do With $50 Million?"

But the groundswell is not just about this particular measure, but rather about widespread fatigue with a government apparatus that misuses public dollars and has enriched the elite for decades. According to Transparency International, Paraguay is the western hemisphere's 3rd most corrupt country; according to many dismayed Paraguayans I have met, it's the 1st.

"Silbaba and the 45 Thieves," A clever list of all the Deputies who approved the $50 million increase. (h/t: Última Hora)

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2 Responses to Occu.Py: Mass protests in Paraguay against Corruption

Anonymous said...

está empezando algo nuevo!!

Apelido disponível: Sala Fério said...

Mal empieza y ya se acaba ... pero no hay que desanimar:


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