ASUNCION – The speaker of Paraguay’s lower house, Hugo Velazquez, committed himself on Monday to urge the Attorney General’s Office to open an investigation into the death of 11 peasants in the 2012 Curuguaty massacre, which took the lives of 17 people in all and for which President Fernando Lugo was impeached.
The AG Office at present is investigating only the death of the six police officers, for which it charges another 11 peasants who have been on trial for almost a year.
“The only way to achieve true justice is by sentencing those responsible for the massacre on both sides,” Velazquez said after a meeting with the slain peasants’ family members, the lawyers of the 11 accused and representatives of Amnesty International.
The massacre took place June 15, 2012 on the Morumbi property, a spread of 2,000 hectares (4,938 acres) in the municipality of Curuguaty.
Authorities had sent more than 300 police officers backed by helicopters to clear peasants off the estate, pursuant to a court order obtained by Morumbi’s owner, prominent politician and businessman Blas N. Riquelme.
Family members of the 11 slain peasants regret that, four years after the massacre, the circumstances of their deaths have not been determined and demand that an investigation be opened “just like they did for the police,” because they have “the same rights,” Dario Acosta, uncle of peasant Luciano Ortega, who at age 18 was the youngest massacre victim, told EFE.
Acosta also asked for the release of the peasants now on trial.
Before meeting with the house speaker, the victims’ families spoke with Attorney General Javier Diaz Veron, who said that in a period of 22 day he will give them an answer to their request for an investigation.