Belgian Couple Murdered in Paraguay
ASUNCION – A Belgian couple was shot to death at their farm in Piribebuy, located 55 kilometers (34 miles) east of Asuncion, when they resisted a robbery attempt by four men, Paraguayan police said on Thursday.
Jacques Pierre F.G. Graulle and his wife, Thoelen Marcelle Roberte Henriette, who owned the Don Juan farm, were killed Wednesday night.
The farm is located on one of the roads that leads to Piribebuy, a town in Central province.
A foreign citizen, who was not identified by police, told investigators she was dining with the couple when four armed men wearing ski masks entered the farmhouse.
Graulle fired at the assailants with his firearm, killing one of the men and wounding another, who fled from the scene with the other two men, the eyewitness said.
Graulle’s body was found on the floor with several gunshot wounds, while his wife was dead in a chair and the assailant’s body was on the floor, police said.
No word what the "robbers" wanted. No word on the identity of the foreign citizen, and why she was not harmed by the "robbers." No word on what kind of farming is going on there outside of Piribebuy.....
No stories in the Belgium papers either about the death of their compatriots. Nothing to see here.
Last month I wrote about the Tri-Border Area, where Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet.
organized crime paradise
Lots of organized crime and human trafficking takes place in this area.
Paraguay (click to enlarge, source)
The capital of Paraguay, Asuncion, is opposite to the TBA, on the Argentina border, and Paraguay is less than 200 miles across at that point. And there's a Pan American Highway running along that exact route. How convenient is that?!
Pirebebuy lies 34 miles east of Asuncion, 5 miles south of the Pan American Highway. It's on that little road between Caacupe and Paraguari (if you enlarge the map). Lots of lush green countryside. Off the beaten path, but not too far off the path. In the middle of nowhere, but on a route to somewhere.
It appears that Paraguay had a long-standing corruption problem as reported in 2002, at least according to Transparency International, a Berlin-based watchdog group.
"In Paraguay, corruption remains systematic," the annual report said in giving Paraguay a score of 1.7 out of 10, worse than all but Nigeria and Bangladesh. (Finland received the highest score, with 9.5. The United States was 16th with 7.7.)
...Half the country's retailers do not pay value added tax on the goods they sell and the government only collects around 35 percent of the taxes it is owed, according to experts. Of those that do file returns, 93 percent cheat in some way, according to one recent study.
The government, prompted by local groups and international institutions such as the World Bank, last year charged a joint parliamentary-civilian commission with changing the culture of graft. Focusing on customs, public-works contracts, and the judiciary – the three main areas where corruption is worst – the commission hopes to identify more offenders and more forcefully punish them.
It appears that Paraguay still had a corruption problem in 2006.
The U.S. Embassy in Paraguay said in its annual report, published Wednesday, that Paraguay suffered from police corruption and an inefficient justice system, both of which had a hand in helping drug trafficking. Benitez responded that the only well founded accusation made by the U.S. embassy in Paraguay had been that against former narcotics division chief Aristides Cabral, who was currently in jail. The U.S. report also detailed international cooperation in the world-wide fight against illegal drugs, and identified Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay as being trafficking routes and money laundering locations.
And as of last year... still a problem.
On January 12th , Martin Ocampos Paez, the director of Paraguay's Hugua Nandu FM community radio station, was assassinated at his home in the city of Concepcion. The crime raised a red flag for activists concerned with Paraguay's ongoing battle with large-scale corruption, not to mention those monitoring press freedom. More specifically, members of Paraguay's journalists union have speculated that Paez's death was linked to comments he had made regarding ties between high-level Paraguayan politicians and illegal drug trafficking.
- There are approximately 5 million people in Paraguay.
- Ninety-five percent of the people in Paraguay are Roman Catholic.
- Of the remaining five percent, most of those are Protestant.
- About 70,000 people are Mormons.
- About 1,000 are Jews, one of the most isolated groups of Jews in the world.
The great majority of Jews live in the capital, Asuncion.
The Paraguayan community is publicly represented by the Consejo Representativo Israelita de Paraguay. There are at least ten other Jewish organizations, including WIZO, B'nai B'rith, and several youth movements. There are three synagogues: one Ashkenazi, one Sephardi, and one affiliated with Chabad that distributes kosher food to the community. These institutions function without a rabbi. The community maintains a Jewish school, the Colegio Integral Estado de Israel, which provides both primary and secondary education for the majority of Jewish children. There is a Jewish museum with a Holocaust memorial in Asuncion.
Israel and Paraguay maintain full diplomatic relations.
The young rabbi of Asuncion Chabad, Levi Feigelstock, was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His wife is from London. (http://www.gelfmagazine.com/archives/sabbath_in_asuncin.php)
The Chabad rabbis are not so different from the thousands of Mormons who arrive in all corners of the globe to spread the Good Word: They are young and energetic, having been specially groomed for their commission to a place they likely have never heard of and that requires a worrying number of inoculations.
Lots of people feel they have commissions in Paraguay, evidently. Three Jesuits arrived in Asuncion, Paraguay in 1588. They came from Brazil and began to proselytize the Guarani Indians who lived in the area. Some tourists visit Paraguay to visit the many Jesuit ruins.
The Jesús and Trinidad Jesuit Ruins are located in Itapúa Department, Paraguay, and are religious mission that are sill preserved and that were founded by the Jesuit missioners during the colonization of South America in the XVII century.
These religious missions were created in 1609 and developed for 150 years. Both Jesuit missions were declared Historical Patrimony of Humankind by the UNESCO in 1993.
The Jesuit Missions of Paraguay are considered some of the most impressive creations of the religious work of the Jesuit, and are testimony of the historical richness of the country.
main altar of Jesus de Tavarangue
Returning to the human trafficking taking place in the TBA, all easily within driving distance on the Pan American Highway...
And furthermore......Many of those trafficked through the triple frontier are destined for the illegal labour market in Brazil or Argentina. The trade in babies for adoption is also widely reported. But a large proportion end up as sex workers. Many end up in brothels across the region, although a high number are destined for the triple frontier's own thriving sex industry.
Children are particularly vulnerable to human traffickers. Charities working with at-risk children in the border region estimate that as many as 3,500 young people could be involved. "Many girls are trafficked via the pique. It's all highly organised", explains Marcelina Antunez, director of Luz de Infancia, a children's care centre in the Argentine town of Puerto Iguazú.
Driving the trade is the flood of foreign tourists who come to visit the world famous Iguazú waterfalls. Much of the demand for prostitution is casual. Yet the region also attracts a hardened group of sex tourists.
Immigration officer Emilio Osses, who oversees one of the Argentine checkpoints in the area, said that contrary to popular belief, this is not the worst trafficking hotspot on Argentina's border. He says that this tri-border area is heavily controlled — saturated with officers from at least eight local, federal and international agencies, including lots of CIA agents.
Busy busy busy.
Let's recap. Paraguay is a landlocked country in South America with a population of about five million people. On the eastern border it connects to the infamous TBA, known organized crime paradise and home to many terrorists and criminals, including, allegedly, al qaeda operatives.
At the same time, it's a beautiful tourist destination, including, allegedly, for a hardened group of sex tourists.
Also, oddly enough (cough), there's nothing to worry about because it's an area crawling with officers from various local, federal and international agencies, including the CIA.
Meanwhile, surprising us no end, practically inconceivable, a thriving corridor of drug trafficking and human trafficking takes place, visible from hotel pools, including children and women as sex slaves being marched through the jungle. Pretty much right in the open.
The Pan American Highway cuts across Paraguay from the TBA to the capital, Asuncion. Asuncion is the home of most of the country's Jewish population, who account for 0.0002 of the total population. Despite their small numbers, they are impressively organized with Sephardic, Ashkenazi and Chabad resources, a Jewish museum and Holocaust memorial.
And for good measure, the Jesuits kicked it all off 400+ years ago by converting the natives to Catholicism.
Have I forgotten anyone? Oh yes, the Mormons. They got in the action in the late 1980s.
"The Jesuits’ goal was the destruction of the Protestant Reformation leading to a return of one pope sitting in judgment on all mankind. The Rothschilds goal was to control the wealth of the planet. And the Frankist vision was the destruction of Jewish ethics to be replaced by a religion based on the exact opposite of God’s intentions. When these factions blended, a bloody war against humanity, with the Jews on the front lines, erupted and it is reaching its very pinnacle at this moment." source