When Carlos Mareco, a leader of the Sawhoyamaxa indigenous community, heard the news that after a two decade long painful legal battle, his people will be able to return to their ancestral lands, he couldn’t help but shed a tear.
“We Indigenous People cry only when we have achieved our freedom. Today, it is like we are coming out of a prison, so many of us are crying because it is so emotional,” he said.
For years Carlos Mareco and his community lived on a precariously narrow stretch of land by a major highway.
Yesterday, Paraguay’s President, Horacio Cartes enacted a law approving the expropriation of more than 14,400 hectares of land in the Chaco region, returning the land to the Sawhoyamaxa. With the stroke of a pen, the Paraguayan State began undoing some of the wrongs suffered by the community for generations.
I will never forget the first time I went to visit the community.