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  • Indigenous protest outside Paraguay

    Indigenous protest outside Paraguay's National Indigenous Institute, 2008 | Photo: EFE

19 Indigenous peoples in Paraguay seek to form their own political party.

Indigenous activists are already on the streets of the capital, Asunción, collecting signatures to present to Paraguay's Electoral Court. It's the next step to be able to stand candidates for the both houses of Congress, as well as in regional elections.

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Cipriano Zavala, of the Angaite people, explains that they have already formed a political movement, the MPIPP, the Paraguayan Plurinational Indigenous Political Movement. But they need to become recognized as a political party if they want to stand in elections next year.

"This would be the first political party created by the Indigenous communities themselves."

Zavala and his colleagues began work on the project five years ago. He says they've been drawing more and more support, "because this is the only chance for us to get a member of parliament who can represent the 19 peoples."

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Expectations are running high, with a number of possible candidates emerging, including the Guarani architect, Geronimo Ayala.

"This is a project that takes in the whole country", says Zavala. The different Indigenous peoples in Paraguay know, he adds, that if they don't organize now to elect their own representatives, they "will continue to be ignored and to suffer inequality."





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