ASUNCION – Thousands of small farmers from Paraguay’s interior and other protesters sympathetic to their demands marched in Asuncion on Thursday to demand the resignation of President Horacio Cartes and the immediate adoption of land reform.
Paraguayan rural producers have taken part for the past 22 years in the Grand March of the Poor Peasantry, as the protest in Asuncion is known, to call the government’s attention to their plight.
“Horacio, Fuera del Palacio” (Horacio, Get Out of the Palace) and “Cartes Fuera” (Cartes Get Out) were some of the slogans chanted by the demonstrators, who marched on Thursday morning despite a driving rain.
“I’ve participated in the 22 marches and I’ll never get tired of demanding a just agrarian reform,” 57-year-old Pablo Lopez, one of the protesters, told Efe.
Organized by the National Peasant Federation, or FNC, the march proceeded along Asuncion’s main thoroughfares until reaching the vicinity of the Congress building in downtown, where protesters held a rally.
The rural producers began arriving in Asuncion on Wednesday from communities in the eastern provinces of San Pedro, Concepcion, Canindeyu, Caaguazu, Paraguari, Itapua, Misiones, Guaira and Caazapa.
Like in previous years, the farmers denounced the lack of agrarian reform and a deterioration of their living standards caused by a drop in the price of agricultural products and a middlemen-dominated supply chain.