Down at the Plaza Uruguaya, Guarani indigenous people occupy the park. They’ve been there for years, is what people on the street say. Under garbage bag-like plastic tents, they sleep on blankets on the ground. They cook over fire in the park, and take bucket baths inside tiny three-sided showers constructed of sticks and the same plastic as their dwellings.
A group of boys sits around a statue of General Artigas in the center of the plaza. They watch a group of Guarani girls playing soccer. I try to converse with them, but they’re shy. Or, they do not understand my Spanish.
Why are they occupying the park? They are there to remind the people of Asuncion, politicians and commoners alike, that they exist, that they are losing their lands to large agricultural interests, that they are living within the borders of Paraguay. It is a peaceful demonstration.