The Chaco takes up about 60% of Paraguay and has less than 3% of the population. It is desolate and beyond what we think of as backward or "civilized." It is in this vast and remote region-- no towns, no roads, people don't even speak Spanish here-- that Bush is rumored to have bought his gigantic estate. When rumors first started surfacing about it people assumed he would be using it as a backup in case he had to escape the war crimes charges that could well come after he is out of office. In Latin America the suspicion is that he was making a play for the area's huge acquifer which is said to be more valuable than an oil field, at least for those who think in terms of generations when doing their financial planning. That the two Bush daughters have been down here a few times has added fuel to the fire. I reported the rumors at Down With Tyranny but I wasn't certain it was actually true, even after reading quotes from the governor of the province and other Paraguayan public officials.
Since I got to Paraguay I've been trying to track down the ranch-- with no luck. Some people swear it is true--as did the Paraguayan consul in the U.S. I had spoken to-- and some say it is just a fake rumor. In any case, everyone agrees it would be virtually impossible to find out for sure because the region is so vast and remote. The desk clerk at the Sheraton suggested I hire a private plane to find it since there aren't even roads, let alone buses.
Yesterday I called the U.S. Embassy and had a long, friendly chat with a diplomat. He doesn't seem too enamoured of Paraguay, although he reckons it's better than Pakistan. He complained that Asuncion is remote and cut off from the rest of the world. He also said that they checked and that there is no Bush ranch and no secret U.S. military base. Of course if it were secret, he would hardly be advertising its existence. He suggested I read a State Department statement about both. The official U.S. line is that the Bush ranch is some Cuban disinformation propogated by Prensa Latina.
People tend not to believe anything diplomats say that serve the national interests they represent. Under Bush the credibility of the U.S. State Department has fallen to new lows. Their claims are utterly worthless. That doesn't prove that there is a Bush ranch, however. Is it possible that the daughters were here because one of them works for UNICEF? I doubt it. And even the diplomat admitted to me that she was up in the Chaco visiting backward Menonite communities. It doesn't add up.
I spoke to the wife of a Brazilian general who told me that the base is real and that the ranch has been "100% confirmed" by the Brazilian military intelligence. Is she a good source? She has less reason to lie than the U.S. State Department.
I don't think there's much more I can find out about this whole thing from here. I keep reminding myself I'm on vacation and that I need to get to Tierra del Fuego. I'm going to take a bus to Encarnacion on the Argentine border, cross over to Posadas, the capital of Missiones Province and sniff out the possibilities of going down to Esterios de Iberrà in Corrientes. This is supposed to be the Western Hemisphere's version of the Serengeti. It is a vast, sparcely populated swamp. I don't know what's wrong with me.
Howie, thanks for the report, and do be careful! Keep letting us know where you are and where you're going to be, please, so that we don't lose you in that vast landmass where the Bush Ranch is, or isn't.
Have a wonderful vacation!
Very interesting (in my best crazy scientist in a German accent)
I think it would be a real shame if indeed Bush did buy a parcel of land in this location to get away from it all (crimes against humanity?) and word got around the internet and backpackers from all over the world started going to said location. Mmmmmm...starts daydreaming...
...a sad & lonely 82 year old man sits on the veranda of his shack. Curious tourists take pictures of the man and occasionally throw a Penny into his tin cup.
George W Bush, once had it all, but following his impeachment and indictment for Crimes Against Humanity he lives out the last few years of his life in this lonely broken down shack. He has been "free" now for almost a year after spending over 30 years in Guantanamo Bay International Jail.
His family have all distanced themselves from him, he has lost everything.
A Asian Backpacker yells at the dishevelled old man to lift his head and look at the camera, and then throws a Banana peel into his cup, laughs and then walks through the gate and over to the bar near the swimming pool for a drink. A lot of Backpackers come to this area, for it's natural buaty and to throw rubbish at George W Bush.
...hehehehe...Aahhh...I might even have this as a dream tonight.
Since Bush is presently age 62 and it will take at best a year to impeach him, that would make him age 93 at the end of a 30 year sentence.
Very pleasant vision, though.
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