Paraguay

Reports show that increased production and transhipment of drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are causing increased criminal violence in the rural and jungle areas shared by Brazil and Paraguay. The level of violence and brutality of the killings have been compared to those of Mexican-style cartels with “decapitated bodies, arms severed, bodies burned alive”. The increased drug flow and porous Brazil-Paraguay border is causing greater security concerns as Brazil gears up for its World Cup and Olympic engagements. Paraguay’s presidential elections take place this Sunday which is seen as the “key to restoring the country’s democratic credentials”. After the impeachment of Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo in 2012 Paraguay has been suspended from Mercosur and Unasur but the democratic election of their new president will allow for the country to be readmitted after member approval. The frontrunners for today’s election are Efrain Alegre of the ruling Liberal Party and Horacio Cartes of the Conservative Colorado party who is favoured to win. (April 21, 2013 AFP; April 21, 2013 BBC; April 18, 2013 Mercopress; April 21, 2013 Al Jazeera)