Back in late 2006, it was widely reported in the Latin American media that President Bush, or perhaps his old man, had bought a 100,000-acre farm in a remote area of Paraguay.
What struck people at the time was the choice of country. Paraguay, of course, has gained a certain Club Med status among the world’s villains and criminal elements as the place to go when the law’s on your tail. The country, ruled for six decades by the dictatorial and fascist Colorado Party of Gen. Alfredo Stroesser, an almost cartoon charicature of a Latin American dictator, has no extradition treaty with any nation.
That’s why it has long harbored aging Nazis, bank robbers, and a string of ousted or retired Latin American dictators and their assistants over the years.
Given that President Bush, once he leaves office on January 20, 2009, will no longer have the diplomatic immunity conferred upon heads of state, or the Constitutional protection against indictment by domestic prosecutors, it makes sense that he would be looking for a safe haven from the long arm of the law.
After all, they guy is guilty of a huge laundry list of international crimes, from the Crime Against Peace and Conspiracy against Peace in the UN Charter, to Geneva Convention violations like approval of torture of prisoners, collective punishment of civilians, the killing of children and child soldiers, the failure to protect occupied citizens, the use of banned weapons, etc., etc., and also of domestic crimes, ranging from political use of government employees, conspiracy, treason, lying to federal officials, defrauding Congress, etc.
No wonder he wants to do what Klaus Barbie, Josef Mengele and Adolf Eichmann did, and hole up in Paraguay.
Only trouble is, Paraguay may not be such a safe haven for long.
Last month, a former Roman Catholic Bishop with leftist, populist tendencies, Fernando Lugo, surprised almost everyone in Paraguay, and no doubt President Bush, by winning the national presidential election, ousting the Colorado Party for the first time in 61 years. There is talk that among other things, Lugo is thinking of returning Paraguay to the community of nations, by signing some of those extradition agreements.
If he does that Bush may be stuck having to hide behind his rump squad of Secret Service agents down at the Crawford Ranch, hoping they can keep the process servers from Brattleboro and Marlboro, VT, with their war crimes arrest warrants, at bay.
DAVE LINDORFF is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. His latest book is “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press, 2006 and now available in paperback edition). His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net