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Triumph of the popular movement

Monday 22 July 2002, by Adolfo Giménez

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Asunción, June 4, 11.35 pm. A spectacular triumph was won today by the organized popular movement in Paraguay, with the indefinite postponement of the sale of the state telephone company, Copaco, announced by President González Macchi on television.

Nevertheless, this situation of euphoria does not mean that the situation will tranquillise soon because in confrontations this afternoon in Coronel Oviedo, a peasant named Calixto Cabral was shot dead by the police and five others were wounded.

The leadership of the CDP is meeting now to determine the steps to follow in the coming days. The six points raised in the days of protest days were won through the struggle and sacrifice of thousands of people mobilized across the country.

In the capital a thousand demonstrators remain in front of the Congress building. Tomorrow the members of a caravan in the city of Caacupé, 45 kilometres from the capital, will arrive in Asunción. Police and military forces are maintaining barriers at different points to prevent the passage of the demonstrators.

The main leaders of the CDP reject any speculation that the protests have some relation with ex- general Lino Oviedo, exiled in Brazil, condemned for an attempted coup and accused of being behind the assassination of vice-president Luis Maria Argaña in March 1999, or with any other parliamentary political sector trying to assume power by means of a ’political game’ or conspiracy behind the backs of the people.

Various democratic politicians, human rights activists and social organizations have announced that they will again ask for the impeachment of González Macchi, rejected already on two occasions by Parliament for lack of sufficient votes.