Oil in the Chaco

Anyone who has been around Paraguay for any time has heard about the vast oil reserves in the Chaco – or maybe not.  Then again there was the Chaco War with Bolivia that Paraguay won but lost the oil.  Here is what looks like good reporting on all of that.  It is a bit technical here and there but suggests that Paraguay is about to produce a considerable amount of oil.  Take a look.



More Fire Equipment Photos from Paraguay

Our southern partners (CPK) sent more photos of the fire equipment. Read the previous post for the story of the equipment. In the first photo the third person from the left is Ramon Grange one of the key people in getting this project to become a success. Enjoy

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Donated Fire Fighting Equipment from Kansas Arrives in Paraguay

Kansas Firefighter Equipment Delivered in Paraguay

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A container of firefighting equipment has landed in Paraguay and has been delivered to members of Comité Paraguay Kansas (our counterpart) Emergency Preparedness Committee headed by Steve Richards.  This nears the end of a 7 year saga that began with a cultural exchange to Kansas by Jorge Martín.

In 2009 Steve and Lorraine Richards along with several other Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) attended a Partners of the Americas (POA) regional meeting in Chicago.  At this meeting we all learned about the Wisconsin Nicaragua Partners remarkable ability to ship donated firefighter equipment to Nicaragua.  Steve came away from this meeting with a smile and the name of the Denton Program.

Steve and Lorraine were the lead KPP members on the Emergency Preparedness Committee and envisioned sending donated equipment from Kansas to Paraguay.  Under a POA travel grant Paraguayan firefighters had been to Kansas and indicated the need for updated equipment.  But why would Kansas’ fire departments donate equipment to Paraguay rather then to the many small rural communities in Kansas? There are standards for firefighter equipment and with technological advancement the standards change and fire departments must update to the latest equipment. This means that Kansas fire departments must get rid of old equipment.  Steve and Lorraine were glad to help out.

Now KPP had an interesting problem.  Steve’s basement was soon out of space to house donated equipment.  Under Steve’s leadership KPP bought an old shipping container and Steve arranged for it to be housed on the Wichita Fire Department’s property.  This storage and work space also came with the beginning of Scott Fromme’s involvement in KPP.  Scott is a Wichita fireman with lots of international experience.  Under a POA travel grant he traveled to Paraguay to make certain that the donated equipment could actually be used rather than sit in some warehouse because it didn’t work in Paraguay.  Scott visited lots of Paraguayan fire departments and learned a few words of Guaraní that helped forge a bond with Paraguayans.

Donated equipment kept coming in and Steve was learning about the Denton Program. Here is how the Department of Defense describes the Denton Program.

The purpose of the Denton Program is to allow U.S. based non-governmental sources to transport humanitarian aid at little or no cost to the donor, while simultaneously putting the extra space on U.S. military transport assets to good use. This program is jointly administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Department of State (DOS) and Department of Defense (DOD). Transportation is generally available to close destinations such as Latin and South America; however, the availability of transportation to particular countries is affected by current military and political situations. Transportation can neither be scheduled nor guaranteed; and therefore, cannot be used to meet urgent needs or deadlines.

Steve met the challenge of satisfying two government agencies and KPP was approved.  This is far from the end of the story.  I will let Steve tell more of the story.  Please click and enjoy.

 The Rest of the Story

Paraguayan General Strike Warning

Security Message for US Citizens
General Strike in Paraguay on 26 March 2014
Paraguayan trade unions have called for a general strike on Wednesday, March 26, 2014, starting at midnight. While the strike will be nationwide, Asuncion will likely be most affected. Trade unions, including transportation (public bus drivers and taxis) and teachers have made statements that they will join the strike. Other groups such as peasant farmers, political groups and other civil society groups have indicated they will support the strike. Strike organizers have announced that they will march to downtown Asuncion, and mount checkpoints at major intersections into Asuncion, as well as in certain parts of the country.
The National Police plan to be visible in large numbers throughout the city. In the past, the National Police and protesters have occasionally clashed, which has resulted in the use of tear gas and rubber bullets.
Although the strike and associated march are expected to be peaceful, the Embassy strongly recommends that you avoid the downtown area, the intended march route, and intersections where protesters plan to be present. If you find yourself near a demonstration or protest, you should immediately depart the area.
Protest March:
On Wednesday, March 26 protesters plan to gather at Seminario Metropolitano and then march to the city center. The intended route of the protestors is Avenida Kubitschek to Avenida Eusebio Ayala continuing to the city center. The protestors are expected to congregate in the Plaza de las Armas, in front of the congressional building downtown.
Protest Activity at Intersections:
Strike organizers have announced that they plan to protest at major city intersections, which may interfere with traffic. A list of the intersections is provided below. Maps of the route are available in local newspapers.
1. Ruta Transchaco y Semidei
2. Autopista y Madame Lynch
3. Mariscal López, a la altura del campus de la Universidad Nacional de Asunción.
4. Viaducto 4 Mojones
5. Ruta Mariscal Estigarribia, a la altura de la sede de la Universidad Nacional de Asunción.
6. Eusebio Ayala y Calle Última
7. Mariscal López y Perú
8. Félix Bogado y General Santos
American citizens should avoid driving through intersections with protesters, and should not at any time attempt to drive through an intersection that is being blocked by protesters. The National Police will have a presence at each of the intersections; however, protesters may still be able to interfere with traffic. You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Paraguay enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates and makes is easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution. Read the Country Specific Information for Paraguay. For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions. You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler App, available through iTunes and the Android market, to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Asuncion is located at 1776 Mariscal Lopez Avenue.
U.S. Embassy Asuncion contact information:
Tel: 011-595 21-213-715
Emergency after hours: 011-595 21-213-715 extension 2210
Fax: 595-21-228-603
E-mail: ParaguayACS@state.gov

Celebrating 50 Years of Partnerships

That was the theme of the Kansas Paraguay Partners Annual Meeting held in Manhattan Kansas on March 8. We aren’t actually 50 years old but we are helping celebrate the Partners of the Americas anniversary.  We actually date to 1968 which makes us 46.  In addition to celebrating POA’s 50th we featured the collaboration that helped create the program of Human Ecology at the National University in Paraguay (see pervious post).

Here are some pictures from our meeting. I did not catch the name of the Paraguayan student who sang so beautifully.  If anyone can tell me, I will edit this and add her name.  She deserves it.

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Human Ecology in Kansas and Paraguay


Pictured here are Clotilde Benitez and Mimi Smith Zabalio at the Kansas Paraguay Partners (KPP) meeting March 8, 1014.  Clotilde is the Dean of the College of Human Ecology at the National University in Paraguay and a graduate of Kansas State University (KSU).  Mimi Smith Zabalio is a long time member and supporter of KPP and the founder of the Paraguayan Human Ecology program. In the 1980s Mimi was a professor at KSU and working with Paraguayan counterparts on a variety of projects.  Out of these efforts came support from the Kellogg Foundation to establish a program for educating rural development professions in the College of Agronomy at the National University of Asuncion. This became the Department of Human Ecology in Paraguay. Most of the faculty of this program received degrees from KSU.  Other KPP members involved in these efforts were Lois Redman, Barbara Stowe, Meredith Stroh and Clara Dubbs.  I am certain that I haven’t credited all of those involved and invite additions and corrections.

Ireland has discovered Eliza Lynch

Here is another piece about Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay from Ireland.  It seems like Ireland has discovered her.  In my mind it is about time.



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