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Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Paraguay

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 July 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Paraguay, 31 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/501fbca628.html [accessed 22 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: Although Paraguay enhanced counterterrorism efforts, it remained hampered by ineffective immigration, customs, and law enforcement controls along its porous borders, particularly the Tri-Border Area (TBA) with Argentina and Brazil. Limited resources, sporadic interagency cooperation, and corruption within customs, the police, the public ministry, and the judicial sector impeded Paraguay's law enforcement initiatives. Continued activity by internal insurgent groups and the resulting public demands for governmental response kept terrorism in the policy forefront. The Congress passed legislation in October allowing the government to freeze terrorist financing-related assets. Following terrorist attacks on police stations in September and October, President Fernando Lugo responded by mobilizing the military from November to December.

2011 Terrorist Incidents: Since 2008, the leftist Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) has been active in the northern departments of Paraguay abutting the Brazilian border. The EPP was believed to be a small, decentralized group operating mainly in Concepcion Department. Estimates of membership ranged from 20-100 members. It engaged in kidnappings, placing improvised explosive devices (IEDs), and multiple shootouts with the police and military. For all of the events below, where responsibility was not claimed by another group, it was widely suspected that the EPP was responsible:

  • In January, an IED exploded at a radio tower in Asuncion. There were no injuries and a second IED located nearby was destroyed by police.

  • Also in January, the EPP claimed responsibility for an IED attack on a police patrol vehicle in Horqueta (a city in north-central Paraguay that has been the site of much of the EPP's activity) that injured four officers.

  • On September 18, a motorcycle passenger threw an IED at a building in Horqueta that housed the prosecutor's office. No one was injured in that attack. Three days later, however, eight armed attackers killed two members of the Paraguayan National Police at a police outpost 15 km from Horqueta. The attackers used a diversion to lure the police outside where they proceeded to use small arms fire and grenades to execute their attack.

  • On October 5, EPP snipers attacked a police roadblock established near the same police station, wounding a police officer. Two days later the residence of the Chief of Police in Horqueta was shot at by unknown assailants.

  • On October 24, a sniper attacked the police station in Hugua Nandu wounding two officers.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: No significant steps were undertaken specifically to address border security issues, particularly with respect to Paraguay's large and generally unprotected borders with Argentina and Brazil. The minimal police or military presence along these borders allowed for a virtual free flow of people and contraband along the frontier. Following the EPP attacks in September and early October, the Congress proposed, and President Lugo ratified, a 60-day "state of exception" (similar to a state of emergency), with the goal of apprehending members of the EPP to reassure the populace, but there were no arrests. President Lugo then deployed the military to two Paraguayan departments. The EPP's small size, scattered membership, and location in areas lacking a strong security presence hindered law enforcement efforts against it.

Paraguay continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Paraguay is President Pro Tempore member of the Financial Action Task Force of South America Against Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force-type regional body. In October, Paraguay passed a law allowing the Secretariat for the Prevention of Money Laundering to freeze assets related to terrorist financing for a finite period of time. The new legislation provides better tracking, reporting, and enforcement powers, which makes it a more effective entity to assist prosecutors in securing convictions for terrorist financing. There were no convictions for terrorist financing cases in Paraguay in 2011.

Paraguay did not monitor and regulate alternative remittance services, however, the Central Bank was analyzing how it could monitor and regulate money or value transfer systems, such as transfer services via cell phones. Paraguay did not monitor non-profit organizations to prevent misuse and terrorist financing, nor were there any known plans to begin this regulation.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Paraguay is a member of the Organization of American States and participated in border protection initiatives with the Southern Common Market and the Union of South American Nations.

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