Paraguay. According to Countryaah.com, Paraguay population in 2020 is estimated at 7,132,549. The social and political tensions in rural areas increased during the year. Particularly in the poor central part of the country, the conflicts between large landowners and small farmers increased. Hundreds of landless peasants, so-called carperos, occupied land on a large soy farm near the small town of General Requín in January in protest of the massive use of herbicides that affected their own crops. The demonstrators were forcibly dismissed by the summoned police, causing two policemen and four peasants to be injured.
Another number of confrontations occurred in the same area during the year, and in February, the peasant organization Federación Nacional Campesina (FNC) accused large property owners of being behind the murders of two of their activists. The government responded with a promise to investigate the environmental effects of soy cultivation in the country. A special congressional commission also challenged the police’s decision to protect soybeans against small farmers and demanded a statement from Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas.
There were great fears that the guerrilla group Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo (EPP), which has been operating for several years in central Paraguay, would step up its acts of violence as a result of the land conflicts. In July, the group also blew up power lines and attacked a police patrol in the Horqueta district of the province of Concepción. In the small town of Ypejhú, October 16, Pablo Medina, a journalist from the country’s largest daily newspaper ABC Color, was murdered, which investigated links between local politicians in the eastern part of the country and drug smuggling. Soon, a judge in the Supreme Court, Victor Núñez, was implicated in the murder, as was the mayor of Ypejhú, Vilmar Acosta. The ruling National Republican Organization-Colorado Party (ANR-PC), which belongs to both Núñez and Acosta,
At the end of November, the country’s anti-narcotics body submitted a report to the Senate with strong evidence for “drug policy”, ie. elected congressmen’s connections to drug smuggling. Every fourth judge in the entire judicial system was charged with similar crimes, and the demands of transparency and accountability on the part of the government and the ANR-PC became loud.