Friday, January 15, 2010

Poor with Dignity

 Here in Paraguay we are all concerned with  the kidnapping situation in the Chaco area of the country. One of the most  recent  kidnappings, which has served to unify the Paraguayan people, was that of a rancher, Fidel Zavala, a few months ago.

The people have reacted with the sentiment of ,"Enough is Enough". We all have plastered our cars with white ribbons or the slogan,"WE ARE ALL FIDEL" and placed banners around the city in support of Fidel and his family.

Last week the Marxist rebel group, the EPP, responsible for his kidnapping, put out a a statement that Fidel's family must give away  many of their cattle to the surrounding villages and towns in order to save the life of their son, Fidel. This is an obvious attempt to buy the support of the poor locals by providing them with free meat, redistribution of wealth is a tenet of Marxism.

In desperation the Zavala family did deliver the meat to the small, poor Guarani village near their ranch as they had been ordered to do by the EPP. 

These people live in conditions of extreme poverty, completely forgotten by the state with their closest water supply being  2 kilometers away. (1mile) In spite of all of this, two days ago, they gave the country of Paraguay, and the world, a lesson in dignity. They also taught the guerrillas of EPP a lesson of their own.

With an amazing dignity and moral integrity, they refused to accept the meat which had been sent to them as part of the bribery required by the EPP of the family of Fidel, saying they did not wish to benefit from the pain of another. When word of their denial of the meat was reported by the media, the villagers were surprised at the reaction brought about by their action. The Chief, humbly, said, " We only did what is our custom which does not allow us to accept the fruit of evil." Words which only raise the esteem we feel for these valiant people.

This simple act of refusing to accept the meat has since spread to other poor, rural,  non- indian communities which were also to be given meat as part of the bribery package required by the EPP. This morning as I watched the local news I saw the people carrying their bags of free meat  to the doors of the police head quarters and throwing it down on the sidewalks in a defiant act against the EPP. They also are refusing to eat the fruit of evil.
Viva Paraguay!

The following is a short video of the community and lifestyle of those who said, "  NO!"

Viva Paraguay! Viva Fidel!


Brenda said...

Great post Rita. It is amazing to see the dignity of the Paraguayan poor. I also think that most people do not realize the extreme poverty that exists in Paraguay.

I couldn't get the iink to the video to work, but I will come back later and try again.

Sarah and the Gentlemen said...

This is so touching! It is encouraging to see people stand up for what is right even when it is inconvenient and costly to them.

Jackie said...

Feels weird to say Viva Fidel (I can only think of Cuba) but in this case, yes, Viva Fidel! What an amazing thing to see.

Findalis said...

The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones.
William Shakespeare

redneck preacher said...

A strong and moral people, God grant your ministry much success there.


Brooke said...


Good on them. Dignity is a priceless commodity.

Glenn B said...

A truly uplifting story.

Jennifer Hambrick said...

Nice to "meet" you in the blog world. It sounds as if you and your family are doing quite a work to make HIS name known.

I would be honored if you used my post to help remember Peterson.

firepig said...

This story is so beautiful.

You cannot imagine just how much I admire folks like that.

Thanks Rita for writing about it

Anonymous said...

Those village elders who participated in this effort are brave but they better be careful. Mao's little red book is explicit in how to handle members of the peasantry who don't support "the revolution." I wish them well.

Kathy said...

Bless their hearts! We're proud of them! R. is following this in the newspapers and he just told me that the young man is back home--we hope they catch the kidnappers.

Ken, Christie, Camille, Caroline said...

I linked to you, Rita. I love the way you summed this up... :) I also love the way the country has stood behind Fidel and held to hope in all this. Inspiring!

Morton said...

Wow- imagine being hungry and taking meat given to your family as a "gift" and throwing it away. What courage and strength it took for those Paraguayans to stand up for what was right! I agree- viva Paraguay!

Demrose Joy said...

An inspiring story Rita.. Blessings to you & your family.