Paraguay: Indigenous Maká Leader Struggles to Avoid Losing More Land

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By Roque González Vera / Source ABC Color / The Dawn / October 20, 2015-. In a fight of unequal terms between a company and an indigenous group, Andrés Chemei is the leader of the receiving end. The company plans to expand its dominance on the land given to the Maká by the Indert [National Institute of Rural and Land development] in Chaco’i, on the Paraguay river.

Chemei, chief of the Maka people, refuses to accept that his community continues losing the land which legitimately belongs to them. He is leading a fight on unequal terms with the company Enrique Remmele SACI, owned by Gerardo Doll. The Maká chief fights to keep the lands given by the Paraguayan State, for the community to settle.

The National Institute of Rural Development and Land (Indert) gave the Maká 18 hectares of land in the area of Chaco’i, facing Botanic Port (Puerto Botánico). The resolution of better law and compensation was established by the Indert on a piece of fiscal land. Subsequently, the National Indigenous Institute (INDI) issued a resolution calling for the protection of those lands. The 18 hectares in question are located on the Paraguay river.

Until recently, these lands were worthless because they are part of an immense swamp. But today there are many barges looking for places to moor and the market value of these lands has changed and reached the greed of those who already have too much.

Precautionary measure

Judge Justina Venialgo of Villa Hayes, established a “no change” measure in the place, taking into account the resolution from the Indert, which disposes a better law and adjudication in favor of the Maka people. The measure is challenged by the legal team of Gerardo Doll, lead by Oscar Tuma, lawyer, who seeks the lifting of the injunction.

Gerardo Doll claims property rights over 18 hectares and demands that the indigenous Maká leave the place immediately. The Maká people created a company called Puerto Hawatú SA, and they lease the use of the coast for mooring barges. They are looking for a decent life and to stop living like beggars from the State. Gerardo Doll wants to evict them from the riverbank, at any cost.

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