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Massacre of Curuguaty, Paraguay

On June 15th, 2012, 11 landless peasants and 6 policemen were killed in Curuguaty, as the peasants were violently evicted from Marina Kue in order to sow transgenic soybeans by the Campos Morombí company.


On 15 June 2012, 11 landless peasants and 6 policies were killed in Curuguaty, a city in the north of Paraguay, as a consequence of a violent eviction of peasants who had occupied the lands of Marina Kue [1]. The day before, June 14th, the criminal court judge of Curuguaty had ordered the takeover of Marina Kue as a property claimed by the company Campos Morombí. Yet, the company was not entitled to those lands and, hence, the demand was not legitimate [2]. Legal measures had been taken by peasants since 2004 to formalize their rights to Marina Kue. According to them, those lands were allocated by agrarian reform. Nonviolent occupations – which were followed later by state-led evictions– had taken place repeatedly by peasants to grow their own food and preserve their rights to land. On June 15th, 2012, a large group of armed police entered the peasant campsite, and the conflict escalated from verbal confrontation to a violent dispute, leaving 17 dead victims (6 policemen and 11 peasants) and several injured. Unsurprisingly, the testimonies from the peasants and the police contradict each other when describing the sequence of events. Several violations of human rights have been reported, mainly the loss of life resulting from abusive state authorities. On the same day of the eviction, Miguel Correa, a 20-year old student was wrongly arrested when trying to see what happened to his friend in the hospital of Curuguaty. He was accused of murder and charged with 30 years of prison. Three days after the eviction, 63 peasants were criminally charged by the Public Prosecutor.  In October 2012, evidence was presented to the Public Prosecutor about the  human rights violations against peasants, but it was not considered [1]. The massacre of Curuguaty led to a human rights and political crisis in the country. It was followed by the destitution of president Fernando Lugo Méndez and the subsequent electoral victory of the opposing party, the Colorado.  The irregularities during this process have been pointed out by different organizations, and some have even suggested that the massacre was part of a planned strategy to carry out of a coup d’état in the country [3]. Lugo had previously attempted to limit the use of GM seeds. The following Colorado government favoured the cultivation of GMOs in the country.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Massacre of Curuguaty, Paraguay
State or province:Canindeyú
Location of conflict:Curuguaty
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Land
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Eviction of peasants from Marina Kue, 2000 hectares, previously occupied under the land reform. The lands of Marina Kue had, in the past, belonged to the company “La Industrial Paraguaya” and were given to the state in 1967. The government allocated them to the land reform. Yet, Campos Morombí claimed the ownership of these lands with no evidence, which led to the described massacre.

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Project area:2000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:65,000-200,000
Start of the conflict:15/06/2012
Company names or state enterprises:Campos Morombí from Paraguay - company who put a demand upon the lands of Marina Kue
Relevant government actors:Supreme Court of Justice
Armed police
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:CODEHUPY
CLOC-Via Campesina Paraguay
Amnistia Internacional Paraguay
Oxfam Internacional Paragay
Survival - Friends of the Earth Paraguay
Plataforma de Estudio e Investigación de Conflictos Campesinos.
Comisión de Familiares de Víctimas de Curuguaty.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Landless peasants
Social movements
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Soil contamination, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Peasant were very violently evicted. Subsequently, in the scandal, the progressive president Fernando Lugo lost the presidency of the country.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[3] Paraguay, A., 2015. REFORMA AGRAGRIA EN PARAGUAY. Revista de Política Internacional Setiembre, 1, 003.
[click to view]

[1] FIAN International and La Vía Campesina. 2014. Land Conflicts and the Criminalization of Peasant Movements in Paraguay: The Case of Marina Kue and the “Curuguaty Massacre.” (Land & Sovereignty in the Americas Series, No. 6) Oakland, CA: Food First/Institute for Food and Development Policy and Transnational Institute
[click to view]

Telesur, Paraguay Yearns for Justice Three Years on from Coup. June 22, 2015 marks the third year anniversary of the illegitimate removal of former Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo from office.
[click to view]

[4] Marteen Dros, J., 2004. Manejo del boom de la soya: dos escenarios sobre la expansión de la producción de la spya en América del Sur
[click to view]

[2] Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay, 2012. Informe de derechos humanos sobre el caso Marina Kue. Asunción: Paraguay: Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

"Que Paso en Curuguaty" (what happened in curuguaty). Website with constant updates related to the case
[click to view]

"Curuguaty: Profesores de la UC piden justicia y absolución de campesinos" article on the online newspaper Ultima hora, which publishes many updated news regarding the case
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Facebook page for control, diffusion and following-up of the development of the oral judgment against the peasants who survived in Curuguaty.
[click to view]

"Desmontando Curuguaty", documentary about the irregularities during the judicial process which affected the accused peasants after the massacre.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Clàudia Custòdio, Lund University. Contact: [email protected]
Last update16/02/2017
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