According to the 2012 census, Paraguay has more than 112.000 natives
Leer en Español: Indígenas paraguayos en busca de la representación política
Paraguay is well known by their Guaraní traditions and heritage. However, there are 5 different ethnicities within the indigenous population. Though it may be true that the Guaraní are the biggest tribe in said nation, others should also be taken into consideration like the Mataco Mataguayos, Zamucos, Lengua Maskoy, and Guaicurús.
Despite its significant population, natives feel that they have never received any sort of political representation. This is why back in 2016, the indigenous movements established the MPIP, Indigenous Plurinational Political Movement of Paraguay. The measure managed to collect more than 15.000 signatures and received the approval of the Electoral Attorney on August 28th of this year. However, they have to wait for the final approval of the Superior Court for Electoral Justice, which is expected to be delivered on October 2nd.
The Paraguayan indigenous people hope to participate in the upcoming general elections expected to be held on April 22nd, 2018. The Paraguayan people will elect their next president, vice-president, 45 senators, 80 deputies, 17 governors, among other important seats within their government. As of now, the indigenous political party will dispute just the legislative elections, but are still aiming to develop a political agenda.
Their main struggles are directed towards land property, economic rights, and indigenous education. According to the movement, around 50% of natives don't know how to write or read in Spanish/Guaraní. Another main issue is the labor conditions of the native people in the Chaco region. According to the UN, organization that warned of the dangers that are being lived on the border with Bolivia, indigenous people are working under pour labor conditions which could be considered as modern-day slavery.
According to Gerónimo Ayala, an indigenous leader, their foremost concern it's their budget. The senate candidate assures that all of the members of the collectivity are funding their own campaigns.
Natives represent nearly 1.7% of the Paraguayan citizens, so it is essential for the new party to capture some of the non-indigenous voters.
Latin American Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto