Call for Investigation Into Murder of Paraguayan Peasant Leader

Vidal Vega

Target: President Federico Franco

Goal: Investigate the death of the leader of the Paraguayan landless peasant movement and bring the murderer to justice.

Vidal Vega, leader of the landless peasant movement in Paraguay, was recently murdered. His death follows only months after police clashed with members of the movement resulting in several deaths. Vega had been cooperating with the investigation into the clash and was expected to testify at the trial. Recently, two men on a motorcycle arrived at Vega’s home and knocked on his door. When they saw Vega they shot him dead in front of his family.

Vidal Vega was the face of “Campesinos sin Tierra,” a landless peasant movement that was lobbying the government to redistribute land that a former senator occupied. The movement claims that the land had been illegally taken by the senator when the country was under dictatorship. Just months before Vidal Vega’s murder, activists from the movement started to occupy the land. When police showed up to evict the activists, a clash resulted in the death of 11 activists and six police officers. Vega was not there at the time of the shootings and was one of the only surviving leaders of the movement. As a result of the clash, President Fernando Lugo was ousted. Vega was president of the Committee of Relatives of Victims of the Massacre and was believed to be the one keeping all the documents for the committee’s negotiation for the land. Although the prosecutor says there is no evidence linking Vega’s murder to his role in the massacre investigation, many believe otherwise.

Vidal Vega’s murder is now being called a political crime and the United Nations has called for an investigation into his death. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights condemns Vega’s murder.  The government of Paraguay needs to bring justice to Vega’s murder in order to secure human rights in the country. Sign the petition and urge the government of Paraguay to punish those responsible for Vega’s death.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Franco,

Recently, the leader of Campensinos sin Tierra (Landless Campesinos), Vidal Vega, was murdered. His murder comes only months after the Curuguaty Massacre where several deaths occurred when police tried to evict peasants from the land they were occupying.

For decades, Vidal Vega and his movement have been trying to reclaim the land that was taken from them by former Senator Riquelme during Stroessner’s dictatorship. This movement has reached a climax during this recent violence. It is time to come to a peaceful resolution.

An urgent investigation must take place to look into the murder of Vidal Vega and punish all of those responsible for his death. Paraguay needs to bring justice for the murder of Vega in order to secure human rights in the country. The government of Paraguay must secure the safety of human rights activists in the country.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: pandithnews.com

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