When the trumpet sounded,
everything was prepared on earth,
and Jehovah divided the world
among Coca-Cola Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other corporations:
The United Fruit Company Inc.
reserved for itself the juiciest piece,
the central coast of my own land,
the sweet waist of America.
—Pablo Neruda, "The United Fruit Co."
I asked Lena Rigley, the wife of a Brazilian soy grower, to read from the police report filed shortly after their soy plantation was invaded in 2001:
The chant-like call for Friday's mid-day prayer rings from the loudspeaker, breaking through the humid jungle air. Worshipers file into the shiny, white mosque, chatting in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish as they take their spots on the soft, blue carpet.
A hush settles over the dome when Sheik Taleb Jomha, the spiritual leader, or imam, enters and climbs to his perch on the altar. He quickly commands the group's attention, leading this community of Muslim Brazilians as they turn towards Mecca and pray.
Pulitzer center grantee Charles Lane discusses the various chemicals used in soy bean production.
Many Paraguayans' lands have been turned into soy fields and have been forced to become part of the 180 squatters living in the outskirts of Santa Rita.
An interesting/depressing side note to the last post I forgot to mention. After Lugo left the local press swarmed me to ask why Americans are interested in Lugo. I said he was a compelling character and Americans are interested in a more lefty South America. I was then asked how Americans feel about supporting past regimes who persecuted South American liberals. I said most Americans don't know about it, but those who do are embarrassed. I hope I am correct.
Paraguay's presidential candidate, Fernando Lugo, builds up a crowd of supporters at a rally in Horqueta.
Last night I attended my first political rally put on by the Colorado party, the party that has ruled Paraguay since 1947 making it the oldest government in the world. Never before have I seen such blatant puppeteering.
Close to 1000 people squeezed into the tiny courtyard headquarters of the Colorado Sectional in Itapua's Cornell Bogado...
Governance has ground to a halt in this southern oil capital, with Basra's two largest parties arguing over the legitimacy of the provincial governor while militias and gangs take over the streets.
The bitter power struggle, gaining strength as British forces reduce their numbers and withdraw into their bases, has left grave doubts about what had been one of the most promising regions in post-invasion Iraq.
At the center of the political gridlock lies Gov. Mohammed al-Waili, the local leader of the Fadhila party, which also holds 15 seats in the National Assembly.
Today is a state holiday, the anniversary of Asuncion's founding in 1537. While the generals and politicians laid flowers at the shrine of Paraguay's heroes some 200 campesinos rallied down the street at Plaza Uruguay. They chanted "The people together, we will never be defeated."
Three months ago the Plaza Uruguay was the place to find cheap prostitutes in Asuncion. But since May they were all chased out by the likes of Beatriz Rivarola, a Guarani "Indian" who, along with 150 others from her reservation, have set up 73 tents and camp in the center of the city as a way to protest land distribution in Paraguay.
Ethiopia wages war with suspected Islamic extremists in Somalia and within its volatile east. And it has secretly cracked down on other groups it deems terrorist, including one in western Ethiopia. The situation is raising serious human rights concerns, and tough questions for its ally, the United States.