To all my non Spanish-speaking friends out there: PLEASE, READ THIS. You know I never ask for shares, I hardly ever even post in English anymore (I know, I'm sorry, I should keep in touch). But this is an issue that deserves our attention. We've been begging mainstream media to cover this, but we are being ignored, both by local and international press. So I ask you to help us spread the word, since it is impossible through traditional means. I'll leave you a link at the comment section that explains everything brilliantly (with pictures!), but I would like to share some thoughts of my own.
A lot of friends gathered at the Universidad Nacional de Asunción (UNA, the most relevant and prestigious public university in the country) building since last Tuesday, enduring suffocating temperatures and poor sleep, waiting for the rector, Froilán Peralta (who gave unqualified friends and relatives positions as teachers or secretaries and is accused of corruption) to resign. Meanwhile, he was nowhere to be found and stopped answering his phone. The police are checking the students out, despite the protests remain completely nonviolent.
You should probably know that Paraguayan society still looks down on protesting for your rights, since 36 years of dictatorship raising kids in fear left a mindset of "if you care for that communist nonsense ('communist nonsense' meaning 'human rights'), you are betraying your own country". But this time it was different: people of all ideologies support the students, because we all understand education is a right and institutions should be run by honest people. This might be no big deal if you're used to protests, but never in my life have I seen a cause supported by everyone. Even though dictatorship ended in 1989, if this had taken place five or ten years ago
maybe even a few months ago I'm sure people would have said that "those lazy students out there whining instead of actually studying", but this time our eyes and minds are, finally, more open.
Last night, some employees were seen (and photographed, and recorded) entering the installations and stealing documents, probably containing evidence of corruption. We don't know, because many of them escaped. Those who couldn't escape flushed, tore and hid all the papers they could. Today, there are still documents being burned RIGHT THERE IN THE STUDENTS' FACES, some of them probably evidence, but a lot of them student records, that are being destroyed in order to make it difficult for random students to ever graduate (or even prove they are students), as a form of revenge. I myself have no idea if my records are safe, or if the teachers will block my thesis process on purpose so that I never graduate once things get back to normal. My major (Literature) is not one that other universities would call a profitable or even worthwhile career choice (that dictatorship I mentioned earlier really made sure we despised reading books, learning, and all), so I have no choice but to go here.
The president (I'll tell you all about him some other time, but he's got a background associated with drug trafficking and is the owner of one of the biggest business groups in the country that have benefited from measures he encouraged as a president) and other government members refused to talk about this to the press, and one of them (Carlos "Kalé" Galaverna, a CV full of corruption) openly supports the rector.
Peralta finally showed up today and resigned, but an investigation is expected before he is declared guilty, and oh, the people responsible for investigating the case are well known for dismissing guilty people before. So the protests are still going on because this man is just the first of many who should go.
Would you please help us sharing this? We obviously don't have the support of media, so the hashtag #UNAnotecalles (UNA, don't shut up), but I think that, with the support of our friends, we can make the rest of the world notice what's going on here. This was supposed to be a short explanation, I'm sorry. Thank you for reading and please tell everyone!