Paraguay’s ongoing crisis over a congressional back-room vote by the ruling conservative Colorado Party to change the constitution without a constitutionally stipulated elected constituent assembly is thrusting students and young people into the front lines of political activism.
The Latin America Post reports that young people made up the bulk of crowds which braved tear gas and rubber bullets, as student associations gathered to condemn police violence and protest against President Horacio Manuel Cartes Jara’s attempt to use a constitutional amendment, which the opposition Liberal Party calls a “coup d’etat,” to change the rules of term limits which would allow him to stay in power for another six-year term.
Students in Paraguay have since helped organize a petition drive, held candlelight vigils and convened walkouts. Secondary school pupils have joined in with a mass die-in, while others marched along rural roadsides in the rain.
Reflecting a population where nearly 50% of people are under 25, this emerging opposition is filling a vacuum left by the divided major opposition parties.