General strike for more pay and less privatisation
A general strike by unions closed down much of Paraguay yesterday. The unions are calling for a 25% pay rise rather than the 10% offered and are demanding that President Horacio Cartes backs down on privatisation plans. Peasant farmers also joined in the protests demanding land reform.
The president is planning to open up a number of areas to private firms including Asuncion Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, state-owned water treatment plants and the construction of international toll roads linking Asuncion with Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia.
Vice President Juan Afara has invited the protesters to organise a round table and the President has stated that he will listen to all the claims with “serious and objective analysis”. However, the president has made it clear that he has no intention of backing down on the reforms.