A rare communique issued by Paraguay’s EPP guerrillas has labeled the country’s administration a “narco-government,” in an apparent public relations attempt to rebuff the president’s aggressive pursuit of the rebel group.
In Ultima Hora’s transcript of the document — which was emailed to a media station on April 8 — the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP) pay homage to their dead comrades Bernardo Bernal Maiz, alias “Coco,” and Claudelino Silva, who were killed on April 2 in a clash with security forces at a ranch in northern Paraguay.
They also claim the government “does not want to accept” the EPP’s responsibility for the disappearance of Arlan Fick, the son of the ranch owners, that same day.
The communique describes the EPP as an army defending the country’s poor and denounces President Horacio Cartes as a “drug trafficker,” while condemning politicians for forming part of Paraguay’s “putrefied bourgeois system” and “democracy of the rich.”
InSight Crime Analysis
The EPP is not generally known for its public relations efforts. However, this latest communique follows two videos released in January, which also contained allegations President Cartes was involved in the drug trade, suggesting they may be looking to boost their media profile as well as undermine the president’s legitimacy.
These releases appear to be an attempt to turn the tables on Cartes, who has made the EPP a security priority, and in doing so has turned the attention of the media and the public to the small rebel group, rather than to the widespread problems of drug trafficking, contraband and corruption — all of which Cartes has been personally implicated in.
SEE ALSO: Coverage of the EPP
The statement also seems designed as a counterstrike to the killing of an EPP leader last week, with the guerrillas keen to show they are not retreating in the wake of the attack.
The insurgents’ roundabout admission that they abducted Arlan Fick is unsurprising, as the group is well known for its use of kidnapping. This crime has been one of the main sources of financing for the EPP ever since the group was founded by radicals involved in the 2004 abduction and subsequent murder of Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of former president Raul Cubas.