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BLOCKADE ON THE MARANON RIVER AND PARAGUAYAN VOTING MACHINES ON FIRE

September/October 29-06, 2022 | Issue 19 - SOUTHCOM

Jan García, Daniel Ruiz, Juliet Sites, Aina Merino Bello, Marina Damji, Julia Tsarnas, SOUTHCOM

Salomon Montaguth, Editor; Hannah Norton, Senior Editor



Maranon river from Cuninico[1]


Date: September 29, 2022

Location: Cuninico, Peru

Parties involved: Urarinas and Cuninico communities; Peruvian citizens; Peruvian law enforcement; riverboat captains

The event: Clashes emerged between Urarinas and Cuninico protesters and riverboat captains over the blockade of the Maranon river. Protesters sank 10 out of 15 river boats in an attempt to prevent them from continuing down the Maranon river. Protesters have fully blocked a stretch of the Maranon river in the Loreto region in protest against the oil spill that caused a shortage of food and water to the Urarinas and Cuninico communities.[2]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The blockade will very likely persist for the next few weeks, as tensions associated with the unsolved oil spill will unlikely decline between the groups. The continued blockade will likely prevent the Urarinas and Cuninico communities from accessing food, clean water, or buying goods from businesses upriver. The increasing shortage of supplies will likely escalate the conflict and increase violence between protesters and captains, as it will likely become dire for the communities to gain access to food and clean water. Lack of access to resources combined with the existing oil spill will likely create a public health emergency for the Urarinas and Cuninico communities, increasing risks of disease due to contaminated water.

  • Peruvian law enforcement will likely try to negotiate the end of the blockade, to restore transit in the Maranon river. The Urarinas and Cuninico communities will likely demand more protective measures towards infrastructure to prevent future oil spills and ask for the closure of the pipeline to ensure their access to clean water. Negotiations will unlikely result in an agreement in the short term due to the conflicting demands of the parties, likely prolonging the blockade and increasing the potential for violent clashes.



Date: September 29. 2022

Location: Asuncion, Paraguay

Parties involved: Paraguayans; Paraguayan government; Colorado Party; Paraguayan Police; Office of the Prosecutor

The event: On September 29th, a fire started in a building of the Superior Justice Electorate Tribune. The building contained approximately 8500 voter machines and one individual died as a result of this fire. Paraguayan authorities have already announced investigations to identify the causes of the fire.[3]

Analysis & Implications:

  • Citizens will very likely question the validity of the electoral process for the upcoming primary and general elections due to historical corruption allegations. This will likely produce conflicting opinions between the political right and left on the intentions of the Colorado Party and the validity of the democratic process. Conflict among citizens will likely degrade trust in the Colorado Party, likely fostering extremist rhetoric and escalating frustrations. This rhetoric will likely grow into political divisions if left unaddressed by both the Colorado Party and the Supreme Court of Electoral Justice, likely weakening the credibility of Paraguayan democracy and institutions.

  • The fire will likely affect the December 2022 elections in the country. Paraguayan political parties will likely put pressure on the prosecutor's office to move forward with investigations and arrest the responsible individual(s). There are roughly even chances that some parties will decide not to participate in the polls due to a lack of guarantees. The Paraguayan Public Prosecutor's Office will likely assign more investigators and officials to investigate the fire and ensure that the elections are held on schedule. The Paraguayan police will likely also intervene in the investigation in order to obtain results as soon as possible, very likely increasing inter-institutional cooperation.

  • The government will very likely increase security in the area, likely in the form of extra police guards and military supervision to protect politicians and political institutions. Extra security will very likely be established around other political institutions in case the fire was intentional. It is very likely that the government will deploy more law enforcement during the elections to prevent further destruction of property and loss of life. Extra security forces will likely cause roadblocks and further delays, likely inconveniencing people who live close to the area.

 

The Counterterrorism Group (CTG)


[1]File:Ocaso en Cuninico - panoramio.jpg” by Heiner Amado Cadillo licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0.

[2] Loreto: dos indígenas heridos tras enfrentamientos por bloqueo del río Marañón en protesta por derrame de petróleo en Cuninico, RPP noticias, September 2022, https://rpp.pe/peru/loreto/loreto-dos-indigenas-heridos-tras-enfrentamientos-por-bloqueo-del-rio-maranon-en-protesta-por-derrame-de-petroleo-noticia-1435858?ref=rpp (Translated by Aina Merino Bello)

[3] Un incendio destruye al menos 8.500 máquinas de votación en Paraguay, Que Pasa, September 2022, https://quepasamedia.com/noticias/un-incendio-destruye-al-menos-8-500-maquinas-de-votacion-en-paraguay/ (translated by Daniel Ruiz)

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