sinjin-avatar.thumbnail.JPGBY ST. JOHN BARNED-SMITH The tarantulas here are generally pretty hard to find – I haven’t seen a single one since I’ve been here, but in the last week, they’ve been emerging from their burrows because of the torrential rainstorms we’ve been having. It’s amazing how hairy these critters are. But spiders aren’t the only thing keeping me on my toes. Paraguay is a fairly peaceful country – in fact, super tranquilo – but has been having some problems lately with a group called the EPP, the Ejercito Pueblo de Paraguay, or the People´s Army of Paraguay. It´s a group of domestic terrorists that has anywhere between 15 and 45 people in it, basically a copycat group of kidnappers like FARC. Most of them are holed up in the northern part of the middle part of the country in a region near a city called Concepcion. In any event, the group recently killed three ranchhands and a policeman. This is on top of other firefights, a possible bomb in the capital a few years back, and the odd kidnapping. The crux of the matter for Peace Corps Volunteers is that the President of the Country is now asking Congress to pass a law granting an “Estado de Excepcion” – a state of emergency throughout five zones across Paraguay. MORE

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