Paraguay: Helping Vulnerable Populations

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

were provided.

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

support them.”

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,