Paraguay 2023 Elections: who are the indigenous women fighting to reach Congress?

Next Sunday, April 30, the national elections in Paraguay, in which no woman will run for president, but for Congress. Is about three candidates from indigenous peoples that seek to defend various points, such as the rights of women and girls, access to land and the environmental struggle.

According to the Superior Court of Electoral Justice (TSJE), these three women represent 0.2% of the total for the entire country. Of the indigenous population, nine candidates seek to reach Parliament and 10 to government councillorships.

Who are the three indigenous representatives?

They are Angela Sales, Ana Romero and Tania Vera.

Sales belongs to the Ava Guarani people and is running as Senator of the National Convergence Party of the Guasú Front. She works as coordinator of the Kuña Guarani Aty Association and is part of ANIVID (National Indigenous Articulation). She has master’s degrees in Language and Governance.

Angela Sales. Photo: Presents

Romero is a Guarani youth leader and a candidate for deputy for the Alianza Encuentro Nacional party. She is a member of ANIVID and president of the Indigenous Youth Union of Paraguay. She also has a degree in International Relations.

Ana Romero. Photo: Presents

Vera also comes from Guaraní and postulates as representative for the Youth Party. He belongs to the Network of Legal Promoters of CONAPI (National Coordination of Indigenous Pastoral Care). She is a teacher and law student.

Tania Vera. Photo: Presents

What are your main proposals?

The first point is the access to land. “In these 30 years, at no time in the election periods has the agenda of the indigenous peoples been prioritized, especially regarding land tenure and security. (…) Only We hope to make history and, above all, to install long-term solutions.Romero said. Vera thought the same.

For his part, Sales added that issues such as “the discrimination from state institutions, for example, the absence of a comprehensive social protection system. Regarding territorial restitution, there is almost nothing, only the policies are based and implemented towards a privatized model, and there is no progress, there is no possibility of progress for the restitution of indigenous lands. At this time, the communities attacked by agribusiness increased. There is an invasion, dispossession, evictions in different ways and areas, ”he explained.

The three candidates also highlighted extreme poverty.

“In these 30 years, at no time in the periods of electoral elections has the agenda of indigenous peoples been prioritized,” said Romero. Photo: Presents

Another proposal that the indigenous leaders have is reform congress. “It’s like 70 years of the same thing. I join as a person, as an indigenous person, as an activist, as a leader, as a mother, and for all existing identities,” said Romero.

Salas added that they seek to “promote the application of the National Plan for Indigenous Peoples. It is a document that was recognized by resolution of the President of the Republic, but to this day it has not been developed, nor does it have a budget. The National Plan was a UN recommendation for Paraguay at the request of the indigenous peoples”, he pronounced.

Other proposals are the following:

  • territorial defense
  • Support all the initiatives of the Linguistic Secretariat
  • Promote a budget for the indigenous education law.
  • Implementation of the curriculum in their own language according to the worldview of each town.
  • Encourage public institutions and organized civil society to work for food sovereignty.
  • Strengthen indigenous and peasant family farming.
  • Promote the recognition of indigenous people in an urban context for land security.
  • Strengthen the implementation of the national health system for indigenous peoples and provide the indigenous health department with a larger budget.
  • Promote projects for indigenous girls and adolescents.