At least two sources, including Upsidedownworld and Prensa Latina, report rumors of a Bush family purchase of land in northern Paraguay.Upsidedownworld writes, on October 11:
The Governor of Alto Paraguay, Erasmo Rodríguez Acosta has admitted to hearing that George Bush Sr. owns land in the Chaco region of Paraguay, in Paso de Patria. Acosta says that rumor has it that Bush owns near to 70 thousand hectares (173,000 acres) as part of an ecological reserve and/or ranch. However, the governor said he had no documents to prove the rumor.
Prensa Latina, writing on October 13, gives a similar story but names George W. Bush rather than his father:
An Argentine official regarded the intention of the George W. Bush family to settle on the Acuifero Guarani (Paraguay) as surprising, besides being a bad signal for the governments of the region…Luis D Elia, undersecretary for the Social Habitat in the Argentine Federal Planning Ministry, issued a memo partially reproduced by digital INFOBAE.com, in which he spoke of the purchase by Bush of a 98,842-acre farm in northern Paraguay, between Brazil and Bolivia.
A visit by Jenna Bush on behalf of Unicef may have triggered speculation, as Upsidedownworld also suggests. But, could there be truth to the rumors? As calls increase for his impeachment, the President could well be thinking that South America would make a fine place to retire.
Another rumored land deal, this one involving the U.S. military, attracted the attention of Project Censored, which listed “U.S. Military in Paraguay” as one of its top 25 censored stories of 2007.
Five hundred U.S. troops arrived in Paraguay with planes, weapons, and ammunition in July 2005, shortly after the Paraguayan Senate granted U.S. troops immunity from national and International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction. Neighboring countries and human rights organizations are concerned that the massive air base at Mariscal Estigarribia, Paraguay is potential real estate for the U.S. military. [Project Censored]
“U.S. and Paraguayan officials vehemently deny ambitions to establish a U.S. military base at Mariscal Estigarribia,” writes Project Censored. But, there’s good reason to believe this rumor, based on a top-secret memo described by Newsweek on August 9, 2006. The memo, cited in the 9/11 Commission report, “lamented the lack of good targets in Afghanistan and proposed instead U.S. military attacks in South America or Southeast Asia as ‘a surprise to the terrorists.'”
The memo’s content, NEWSWEEK has learned, was in part the product of ideas from a two-man secret Pentagon intelligence unit appointed by Feith after 9/11: veteran defense analyst Michael Maloof and Mideast expert David Wurmser, now a top foreign-policy aide to Dick Cheney.
They argued that an attack on terrorists in South America—for example, a remote region on the border of Paraguay, Argentina and Brazil where intelligence reports said Iranian-backed Hizbullah had a presence—would have ripple effects on other terrorist operations.
The arrival of U.S. troops at a massive air base in Paraguay – interestingly, not far from rich Bolivian gas fields – suggests that administration officials may have dusted off an old plan, having learned no lessons from their disastrous intervention in Iraq.