Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Operation Py'aguapy on BBC

BBC has posted a news item about the search for members of the Ejército del Pueblo Paraguayo, or Paraguayan People's Army, who are on the run in the north of the country, possibly in the Paraguayan Chaco. About 25 people are being pursued by the Paraguayan Military and Police in a massive operation being called Operación Py'aguapy, or Operation Tranquility in Guarani.

The BBC article cites the comparison Paraguayans are making between the EPP and Jasy Jatere (or as BBC calls him, Yasy-Yatere,) a spirit being familiar to all Paraguayans. This creature is a one of a number of spirits that are well known in Paraguayan culture and are usually referred to as "mythological" but which, to speak with rural Paraguayans, are not mythological in the sense of being fictional. Many people believe very firmly not only in the existence of these creatures but also in their regular interaction in their own lives.

Another example is Pombero, to whom some people leave offerings of cane alcohol, tobacco, or yerba mate in their tatakua, or brick oven. These offerings are said to appease Pombero, also known as karai pyhare, or "gentleman of the night," who might otherwise attack family members or wreak havoc with their livestock.

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