CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, an early warning tool designed to help prevent deadly violence. It keeps decision-makers up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises every month, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace. In addition, CrisisWatch monitors over 50 situations (“standby monitoring”) to offer timely information if developments indicate a drift toward violence or instability. Entries dating back to 2003 provide easily searchable conflict histories.
Amid growing discontent over govt’s handling of COVID-19 pandemic, violent protests erupted and President Mario Abdo Benítez survived impeachment bid. Amid growing public discontent with record rates of COVID-19 infections, hospitals nearing collapse and country’s slow vaccine program, thousands 5 March demonstrated in capital Asunción to call for Benítez’s resignation; protest turned violent as some protesters threw rocks at police and broke down security barriers, and police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators; clashes left at least one protester dead and over 32 injured including 12 police officers. Public Health Minister Julio Mazzoleni same day stepped down; dismissal followed lawmakers’ non-binding declaration previous day calling for Mazzoleni’s resignation amid health crisis. Benítez 6 March reportedly called on cabinet to resign and replaced ministers for education, women’s affairs and civil affairs, after thousands poured into streets of downtown Asunción for second day in a row. Lower-scale protests persisted in following days. U.S. Sec State Antony Blinken 14 March urged govt to work with international and regional partners to “overcome this global pandemic, combat corruption and increase transparency and accountability”. Lawmakers 17 March rejected impeachment motion filed by opposition against Benítez and VP Hugo Velázquez over govt’s handling of pandemic; as protesters gathered outside Congress, police used rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse them.
Tensions ran high following military operation against armed group. President Abdo 2 Sept said military operation against Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) in northern guerrilla camp near Yby Yaú city, left two “rebels” dead same day; Argentinian FM 4 Sept said victims were two Argentinian girls visiting their fathers in rebel camp. Security operation brought harsh criticism of govt; opposition parties 4 Sept decried govt’s “rush to bury the bodies of these girls before they had even been identified” and NGO Paraguay’s Human Rights Coordinator same day said incident “bears all the hallmarks of a fresh state crime”. After EPP 9 Sept abducted former VP Óscar Denis Sánchez and his assistant Adelio Mendoza in Amambay department, reportedly in retaliation for previous incident, Interior Minister Euclides Acevedo 10 Sept said EPP had started “war” against govt. EPP 13 Sept said Denis would be killed unless govt released two imprisoned EPP leaders, next day released Mendoza.
Following 31 March violent protests against proposed bill amending constitution to lift one-term limit on presidency, President Cartes 2 April called for dialogue to reduce tensions, however opposition said it would not attend unless amendment is withdrawn; Cartes 17 April announced he would no longer seek re-election in 2018, defusing tensions. Chamber of Deputies 26 April rejected bill.
Violent protests broke out in capital Asunción 31 March after senators voted to approve bill amending constitution to lift one-term limit on presidency. Protesters stormed and set fire to parliament, one shot dead during police raid on opposition party HQ, dozens including three lawmakers and a senator injured. Opponents say bill, which was proposed by President Cartes and would allow him to run in 2018 elections, would weaken democratic institutions, some referring to it as “coup”. Bill still awaits approval in chamber of deputies.
Armed group 27 Aug reportedly killed eight soldiers in roadside attack in Arroyito, N Paraguay. Interior minister said small Marxist group Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) believed to be responsible; president vowed to “personally lead the fight against these terrorists”.
President Fernando Lugo removed from office 22 June by senate after 17 killed during clashes between farmers, police over land occupation, replaced by VP Federico Franco; new interior minister with ties to opposition Colorado Party appointed. Several Latin American govts vowed not to recognise new govt; Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) condemned Lugo impeachment, suspended country from Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR); Lugo late-month expressed intention of returning to power but opposed sanctions against country.
Police 3 Sept killed high ranking member of Paraguayan People’s Army Gabriel Zárate Cardozo.
Police 28 July killed 1 of suspected Paraguayan People’s Army leaders, Severiano Martínez, in Chaco department; Martínez wanted for murder, kidnapping.
Paraguayan People’s Army 18 june killed 2 police in northern Concepción department; army said will step up operations against rebels.
30-day presidential emergency powers expired 25 May; originally granted Apr to combat Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) in 5 northern departments. Emergency deployment of 1,000 extra troops 6 May led to capture of EPP logistics coordinator, but no other significant arrests.
Congress 24 Apr gave President Lugo and military emergency powers to combat Paraguayan People’s Army – accused of killing 4, including 1 police, 21 Apr in north; state of emergency to last 30 days, include 5 northern regions.
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