Popular unrest goes (literally) incendiary in Paraguay

Popular unrest goes (literally) incendiary in Paraguay
Senate building in Asuncion, Paraguay, where demonstrators are protesting more than the architecture. (Image: Screen grab of En Vivo video, YouTube)

[Ed. – You might think, “So what else is new?” It’s kind of hard to argue with that — but the arson target was a rather important one in this case.  Much of Latin America is in the worst shape it’s been in for decades.  Time to worry.]

Things are heating up in the capital of Paraguay (Asuncion) and around other parts of the country… literally. Protesters took to the streets and set fire to the Senate building on Friday night, leading to riot police being deployed to try to get the crowds under control. As CNBC News is reporting today, it all stems from a secret vote taken in the Senate which would alter the relatively young democracy’s constitution.

Protesters stormed and set fire to Paraguay’s Congress on Friday after the Senate secretly voted for a constitutional amendment that would allow President Horacio Cartes to run for re-election.

The country’s constitution has prohibited re-election since it was passed in 1992 after a brutal dictatorship fell in 1989.

“A coup has been carried out. We will resist and we invite the people to resist with us,” said Senator Desiree Masi from the opposition Progressive Democratic Party. …

There’s massive confusion and not all that many international reporters on the ground, so some of the details remain sketchy at this point. But the fundamentals of the story appear to agree in most sources. Something very shady took place in Paraguay, with some sort of “secret session” of the Senate being called in a private room, rather than on the floor of their legislative hall in public view.

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