HomeNewsBrief100 Days In, Paraguay President’s War on EPP Sees Little Progress
BRIEF

100 Days In, Paraguay President’s War on EPP Sees Little Progress

EPP / 22 NOV 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Paraguay’s new head of state declared a frontal assault on the northern EPP guerrillas in August, but just shy of 100 days into his presidency, there is little sign the group has been weakened while troubles in the rest of the country continue apace.

Shortly after President Horacio Cartes assumed office on August 15, he was faced with the most deadly attack yet by the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), in the north-central department of Tacuati. Days later, rebels attacked a police patrol in the same department, injuring two. Following these attacks, Cartes was granted powers that allowed him to move 400 soldiers, 60 of them special forces, into the north — EPP territory.

On November 20, authorities arrested the sister of an EPP leader, who allegedly provided logistical support in the kidnapping and killing of a cattle rancher earlier this year. The arrest followed an early November statement by Interior Minister Francisco de Vargas that the government had captured four suspected EPP members and identified eight more since beginning a military campaign against the group in late August, reported Ultima Hora.

However, results have been limited, as Ultima Hora reported. Shootouts between police and rebels have been unfruitful, the leaders remain at large, and an October attack left one government employee dead and several police injured.

InSight Crime Analysis

The EPP appears to have gained strength in recent years, which could be thanks in part to an alleged relationship with international drug traffickers. However, the group is still thought to number under 100 fighters, making it a relatively small security challenge compared to problems such as drug trafficking in the Tri-Border Area (TBA) with Brazil and Argentina, facilitated by impunity in the region, and the growing presence of transnational criminal groups.

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Paraguay

In this context, questions remain not only over the effectiveness of Cartes’ campaign against the EPP — which has also involved the offering of monetary awards for information about rebel leaders — but also of the purpose it is serving. Though the president initially claimed the group would not mark his agenda, since assuming power he has made the eradication of the EPP one of his flagship projects.

For Cartes, who has himself been accused of drug trafficking ties, the EPP may be little more than a convenient target that allows him to point to concrete successes of his administration in the fight against organized crime and while his campaign has few solid results to celebrate, it has at least dominated the country’s security discourse.

Compartir icon icon icon

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

BRAZIL / 25 APR 2017

Paraguay's Ciudad del Este witnessed scenes reminiscent of war as several dozen heavily armed men undertook a sophisticated and lethal…

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 10 MAR 2016

A raid on a weapons "supermarket" in Paraguay has led officials to offer details of the inner workings of the…

EPP / 27 AUG 2013

Paraguayan authorities have found indications that the country's EPP guerrilla movement receives arms from drug traffickers with international connections, strengthening…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…