With U.S. troops currently protecting Halliburton’s oil operations in Iraq and the CentGas pipeline in Afghanistan, U.S. troops are now being sent to Paraguay, complete with immunity from criminal prosecution by Paraguay or the International Criminal Court, to protect the millions of acres of Paraguayan water and land resources bought over the years by religious cult leader Sun Myung Moon. It is not coincidential that Moon’s Unification Church has many followers within the Bush administration. Last month, 500 U.S. troops arrived in Paraguay to expand the Mariscal Estigarriba air base to handle large U.S. military transport planes. Moon’s land acquisitions in Chaco Province are just north of the huge Guarani aquifer, one of the world’s largest sources of fresh water. In addition, Moon has acquired large tracts of land on the Brazilian side of the Paraguayan border. Local villagers in Paraguay and Brazil claim that most of Moon’s land acquisitions were fraudulent and illegal. Moon’s World Unification Church operates in Paraguay under a corporate contrivance called the Victoria Company. Paraguay has also announced that everyone entering and leaving Paraguay will be photographed and fingerprinted. Not coincidentally, the new border control system is being financed by South Korea.
There is clearly a split within the Paraguayan government, with the Vice President and Pentagon neo-con ally Luis Castiglioni negotiating, along with a majority in the Paraguayan Congress, close bilateral military ties with the United States, apparently without the concurrence of President Nicanor Duarte. It is no coincidence that considering the oil-centric Bush administration, the Mariscal Estigarriba air base is close to large Bolivian natural gas reserves in the neighboring Bolivian provinces of Santa Cruz and Tarija.
The U.S. move in Paraguay comes at the same time the U.S. is stepping up its “counter-narcotics” operations from its Manta, Ecuador base and Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez is accusing the United States of using Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) personnel in Latin America as espionage agents trying to destabilize his government. In addition, the Paraguayan military operations are seen as a Bush administration attempt to intimidate neighboring Bolivia, where MAS Socialist party and coca farmer (cocalero) leader Evo Morales is poised to become the next President in scheduled December elections after years of popular demonstrations which saw Bolivian workers and peasants deposing a series of pro-U.S. presidents. A Morales government would add another anti-U.S. and free trade government in South America, joining Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Venezuela.
So soon, the mothers and fathers of U.S. military personnel will be able to take comfort in sacrificing the lives of their sons and daughters for a self-proclaimed Messiah, a non-English speaking Korean who claims to have saved the souls of Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha, Stalin, and Hitler and communicates regularly with others in his departed flock of adherents, including all the deceased Presidents of the United States (who, Moon claims, appointed Richard Nixon as their spokesman from the “hereafter”).