Paraguay: Helping Vulnerable Populations
By Dialogo October 01, 2012
Long isolated by mud and dirt roads, rural communities in the department of
Concepción received medical treatment and education from the Paraguayan Army and
U.S. Special Operations Command South (SOCSOUTH) on June 2-3, 2012.
Paraguayan Military and police, in conjunction with the Ministry of Health
and the National Anti-Drug Secretariat, brought doctors, surgeons, dentists and
nurses to treat more than 2,400 residents. Laboratory and pharmacy services also
Medical supplies were donated to the local clinic in Arroyito, and school
supplies were given to the 12 de Abril school with a $70,000 grant from the U.S.
Southern Command’s Humanitarian Assistance Program.
Brigadier General Mario Restituto González Benítez, the Paraguayan 4th Army
Division commander, oversaw the Military-police operation in Arroyito. He said this
was the first time his troops could fully operate in Arroyito.
Commissioner Hugo Cesar Barrios, chief of the National Police’s Rural
Operations Unit, also highlighted the Government’s objective to build relationships
with the community. “It’s clear that when we talked to the communities, it’s about
gaining their trust and letting them know that the Government and police are here to
The Medical Civic Action Program (MedCAP) provided the opportunity for the
military and police to serve a vulnerable population, develop rapport between the
two partner nation services, and build community relations. Paraguayan Military,
National Police and SOCSOUTH plan three more MedCAPs in the near future. Sources:
Kelsey L. Campbell, SOCSOUTH, and Air Force Master Sgt. Larry Carpenter, SOCOM,