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Paraguay neighborhood decides against free beef

February 2, 2015

ASUNCION, Paraguay (AP) — Residents of a poor community in northern Paraguay will not accept free beef from a well-known businessman who is being pressured by a guerrilla group to donate food to several neighborhoods, an official who met with them said Monday.

A cattle farm owned by businessman Osvaldo Dominguez Dibb was attacked by the Paraguayan People’s Army on Jan. 25. The rebels burned two tractors and a building that housed workers, and left a note demanding the owner pay a $300,000 “fine” for alleged deforestation and distribute free beef in several communities.

Hugo Ramirez, president of the legislative group representing the capital of Asuncion, said he met with residents of Pelopincho neighborhood and they told him they would not accept the meat.

“These people know that the beef is a product of the extortion of businessman Osvaldo Dominguez Dibb,” said Ramirez.

The rebel group gave Dominguez Dibb until Feb. 6 to meet its demands. Authorities said the businessman had not decided whether to comply and it was unclear what might happen if he did not.

Two other communities have said they would accept food.

On Monday, Eusebio Sosa, a leader of the San Francisco community, said they would accept food because it’s badly needed.

“We need to eat,” he said. “We don’t have enough work to support our families.”

Sosa said the Calaverita community had also decided to accept any free food.

Dominguez Dibb is a former president of popular Paraguayan soccer club Olimpia and has stakes in several businesses.

The Paraguayan People’s Army operates in the jungle regions of this South American country of just under 7 million people. It has frequently attacked farms along with military and police posts. Since 2008, its attacks have killed at least three members of the military, 13 police officers and 26 civilians.

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