National Military of Paraguay
Spanish (official), Guarani (official),
     mestizo 95%, other 5%
Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia,
PARAGUAY - When Alfredo Stroessner was finally removed from power after a 35 year dictatorship, things looked bright for Paraguay.  They were ready to embrace true democracy and the death squads promised to be a thing of the past.  Yes, it looked like Paraguay had a bright future indeed.  That optimism lasted for all of about 4 years. 

Anxious for US aid, and eager to invite protect the foreign corporations that were beginning operations in Paraguay, the Government of the country officially allied itself with US forces fighting in Bolivia during the First Central American Conflict.  Allowing them to build fire bases along the border, and turning over most of their northerly airfields to the US.  This allowed for a much faster, and more decisive string of victories for US forces in Bolivia.  Of course this all came crashing to a halt when the US, following disaster at home and in the Economic Crash, was forced to pull out completely.  By this time, Paraguay itself was bankrupt, as it had expended its own forces supporting the US against Bolivia and fighting rebels within their own borders who sided with the Cartels.  The promised US aid was never going to come.  Without troops to protect their interests, the corporations that had set up inside the country began threatening to pull out, as violent uprisings and general chaos began to escalate among the destitute population. 

Of course, in retrospect, the threat was merely a ploy.  At the time Bolivia was too weak to mount any sort of retribution, and Argentina and Brazil had no interest in such a thing, themselves already on the way to corporate control.   However the corporations operating in Paraguay fostered paranoia within political circles over the false threat of invasion from Argentina and Brazil, feeding the threat of war that had led to frequent armed conflicts between them and Paraguay for the better part of 200 years.  The corporations offered a solution, let them solve the countries problems.  In a state of panic and frustration, the leaders of Paraguay conceded, giving the corporations, most notably the agricorp-giant Multi-Foods, near free reign in the country.

Corporate agri-farm complexes were set up at an exponential rate under the Multi-foods banner, mostly producing Soy and raising soy fed cattle.  Multi-Foods also agreed to fund the Paraguyan military, and worked closely with China (the number one consumer of Multi-Foods soy and soy fed cattle) in equipping and training them.  This not only put Multi-Foods in a huge position of power in the country, but allowed China to expend its influence in South America.

This seemed to work well for several years, Paraguay prospered due the massive influx of new jobs and a stable economy.  However things were not quite as as they seemed.  In rural areas, which contained most of the jobs created by Multi-Foods farms, working conditions were, and remain, horrific.  Agri-workers work 10 hour days, are fed with food vouchers redeemable only at Multi-Foods fast food "commissaries" and are required to live on-site in what amounts to metal barracks (the vouchers and living space are of course deducted from their already abysmal salaries of course).  Many of these workers are convicted criminals whose sentence is to work the fields, they share the same living spaces as the normal workers, which have led to a brutal feudal gang lord society in the camps.  Rape and murder are common.  The Paraguyan military is in charge of keeping the peace, but in actuality there duties are to insure that nothing interferes with production, and care little for the safety and well-being of the workers.  In actuality, it has been found that violent activity is much less common than would be assumed, probably due to the workers being continually exposed to pesticides and radiation (produce in Paraguay is exposed to low doses of radiation generated by on site nuclear facilities to increase shelf life).  Workers in the fields of Paraguay are often said to resemble the walking dead.

When the Second South American War broke out in the region, it soon became readily apparent that the corporate funded military was really only there to ensure the safety of corporate interests.  The borders were loosely patrolled, and often refugees and raiding parties would cross the border.  When the US again pulled out, Bolivian forces, still bitter over Paraguay alliance with the US began to attack villages along the Paraguayan border.  Thousands were killed, and more suffered incredible atrocities.  The Paraguyan military all but ignored this, until Bolivian forces targeted a Multi-Foods complex.  Armed with the latest in Chinese weapons and trained by Chinese Special Forces, the Paraguyan military descended on the Bolivian raiders ferociously, driving them out of the country completely.  Captured Bolivian soldiers were immediately put to work, replacing the manpower lost and the Multi-foods complex.  It is rumored that Chinese military forces actively supported the Paraguyan military during this period, and rumors persist of their direct involvement in the military to this day.

In the wake of the corporate dominance of the rural areas of the country, the influx of people fleeing the prospect of being forced into agricultural labor camps  have led to record homelessness in the cities.  Once again the economy and social structure of Paraguay is collapsing.  80% of the land in Paraguay is owned by Multi-Foods and the top 2% of the Paraguayan elite.   The rainforest in Paraguay has been devastated, and there have been little to no attempts at conservation.  Refugees try to flee the harsh conditions pervasive in the country, but meet with little success.  Bolivia shoots most of them on site (except for those willing to join the Bolivian armed forces), Argentina has closed its borders as well.  Many find refuge in the jungles of Brazil, allying themselves with rebels and insurgents there, all eager to remove corporate influence from the region.

There is no tourism in Paraguay, there is nothing here anyone wants to see, at least not anymore.  Crime in the cities is rampant, and the rural areas are a string of corporate farms and ranches.  Social programs are near non-existent, with the exception of Corporate funded education facilities, (which teach only the bare minimum of what they feel an agricultural laborer needs to know) leading to incredible homelessness in all over the coutnry and record illiteracy in the rural regions.  In short, Paraguay is a corporate controlled hell-hole, but one that makes a lot of money for Multi-Foods.

(Written by Deric Bernier)