Article: Bush Paraguay Land Grab Incites Unease

Guarani_aquifer_bush
Bush acquiring 100,000 acres on top of world’s largest single body of fresh water, the Guarani Aquifer.

So let me see if I understand: Bush denies global warming out of one side of his mouth and out of the other side he acquires land on top of what you might call the Saudi Arabia of water. This at the same time he says there’s plenty of water to go around, even as parts of the world dry up (including parts of the American southwest). Well, I guess there’s no denying that Bush understands his liquids, starting from the party-boy days at Yale to the drunk driving convictions to his blood-for-oil war. And now it’s on to another liquid grab.

One other note about the spot where Bush just happened to pick for “Crawford South”:


Not only does it sit on this massive fresh water supply, but it’s also got a huge U.S. base nearby. Not just a little base, but one that can handle B-52 bombers and huge cargo planes and house 16,000 troops. Not only that, but the Paraguayan Senate voted last summer to grant U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction. Wow, this is right up Bush’s alley, especially when you throw in the fact that his little ranch sits at the crossroads of what Paraguay’s drug czar called an “enormously strategic point in both the narcotics and arms trades.” Oh, and did I mention that Reverend Moon bought 1,480,000 acres in the same place. Wow, huh.

Ok on to the article!

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Bush Paraguay Land Grab Incites Unease

Asuncion, Oct 18 (Prensa Latina) The land grab project of US President George W. Bush in Chaco, Paraguay, has generated considerable discomfort both politically and environmentally.

The news circulating the continent about plans to buy 98,840 acres of land in Chaco, Paraguay, near the Triple Frontier (Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay) is the talk of the town in these countries.

Although official sources have not confirmed the information that is already public, the land is reportedly located in Paso de Patria, near Bolivian gas reserves and the Guarani indigenous water region, within the Triple Border.

Alto Paraguay Gov. Erasmo Rodriguez Acosta revealed he heard that part of the land purchase consists of an ecological reserve (Fundacion Patria), with which Bush is affiliated.

In its interview with Rodriguez Acosta, neike.com.py reported that he does not have documentation of this affiliation and it could not communicate either with the foundation or with the National Rural Development and Land Institute, in charge of these state lands.

Concern increased last week with the arrival of Bush” daughter, Jenna, and a source from the Physical Planning Department saying that most of the Chaco region belongs to private companies.

Luis D”Elia, Argentina´s undersecretary for Land for Social Habitat, says the matter raises regional concern because it threatens local natural resources.

He termed it “surprising” that the Bush family is trying to settle a few short miles from the US Mariscal Estigarribia Military Base.

Argentinean Adolfo Perez Esquivel warned that the real war will be fought not for oil, but for water, and recalled that Acuifero Guaraní is one of the largest underground water reserves in South America, running beneath Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay (larger than Texas and California together).

“The southern US states are already struggling with water shortages,” asserted the 1980 Nobel Peace Prizewinner.

Orlando Castillo, Paraguay Peace and Justice Service member, recalled the US military buildup in Chaco under a bilateral agreement.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
Guaraní Aquifer

The Guaraní Aquifer, located beneath the surface of the original four Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), is one of the world’s largest aquifer systems and an important source of fresh water for its people[1]. Named after the Guaraní tribe, it covers 120,000 km², with a volume of about 40,000 km³, a thickness of between 50 m and 800 m and a maximum depth of about 1,800 m. It is estimated to contain about 37,000 km³ of water (arguably the largest single body of groundwater in the world), with a total recharge rate of about 166 km³/year from precipitation. It is said that that this vast underground reservoir could suppy fresh drinking water to the world for 200 years. Due to an expected shortage of fresh water on a global scale, which environmentalists suggest will become critical in under 20 years, this important natural resource is rapidly becoming politicized, and the control of the resource becomes ever more controversial.

Geology of the aquifer
The Guaraní Aquifer consists primarily of sedimented sandstones deposited by fluvial and eolian processes during the Triassic and Jurassic periods (between 200 and 130 million years ago), with over 90% of the total area overlaid with igneous basalt of a low-permeability, deposited during the Cretacous period, acting as an aquitard and providing a high degree of containment. This greatly reduces the rate of infiltration and subsequent recharge, but also isolates the aquifer from the Vadose zone and subsequent surface-associated losses due to evaporation and evapotranspiration.

Research and monitoring of the aquifer in order to better manage it as a resource is considered important, as the population growth rate within its area is relatively high — resulting in higher consumption and pollution risks.

Concerns of U.S. strategic presence
The Argentine film called Sed, Invasión Gota a Gota (“Thirst, Invasion Drop by Drop”), directed by Mausi Martínez, portrays the military of the United States as slowly but steadily increasing its presence in the Triple Frontera (Triple Frontier, the area around the common borders of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil). The overt reason for the increasing presence of U.S. troops and joint exercises, mainly with Paraguay, is to monitor the large Arab population which resides in the area. However, Martínez alleges that it is the water which brings the Americans to the area, and she fears a subtle takeover before the local governments even realize what is going on.

Similar concerns were lifted following both the signature of a military training agreement with Paraguay, which accorded immunity to U.S. soldiers and was indefinitely renewable (something which had never been done before, while Donald Rumsfeld himself visited Paraguay and, for the first time ever, Paraguayan president Nicanor Duarte Frutos went to the White House), and the construction of a U.S. military base near the airport of Mariscal Estigarribia, within 200 km of Argentina and Bolivia and 300 km of Brazil. The airport can receive large planes (B-52, C-130 Hercules, etc.) which the Paraguayan Air Force does not possess. [2] [3]. The governments of Paraguay and the United States subsequently ostensibly declared that the use of an airport (Dr Luís María Argaña International)[1] was one point of transfer for few soldiers in Paraguay at the same time. According to the Argentine newspaper Clarín, the U.S. military base is strategic because of its location near the Triple Frontier, its proximity to the Guaraní Aquifer, and its closeness to Bolivia (less than 200 km) at the same “moment that Washington’s magnifying glass goes on the Altiplano [Bolivia] and points toward Venezuelan [president] Hugo Chávez — the regional devil according to the Bush administration — as the instigator of the instability in the region” (El Clarín [3]).

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2 thoughts on “Article: Bush Paraguay Land Grab Incites Unease

  1. Thanks for writing this. I had heard about the land sale, but not all the possible reasons, nor the nearby military base. Recent elections in Paraguay make this tory even more interesting.

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