Religious cults has huge land holdings in northern Paraguay
Hundreds of peasants from a town in western Paraguay on Tuesday blocked the national highway that runs to Argentina and Bolivia to demand the distribution of land donated by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church.
The protest is the latest in a series staged by peasants from the Puerto Casado region in recent years against Victoria S.A., a company owned by the Moon cult.
The Unification Church has huge land holdings in northern Paraguay, on the border with Brazil, and the Paraguayan courts in 2007 returned 52,000 hectares (128,395 acres) to the cult that had been expropriated in 2005 for residents of Puerto Casado.
Victoria S.A., nevertheless, said it would donate the 30,000 hectares to residents of the area.
The Unification Church owns more than 600,000 hectares (1.48 million acres) in northern Paraguay, near other holdings in Brazil.
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The cult acquired the land in 2000 for an environmental and tourism project.
The Unification Church, founded in 1954 by Moon, has been accused of human rights violations and questionable financial dealings in several countries.
The church has extensive property holdings around the world, including businesses and land.