Teachers in Paraguay are to start two days strike action today, as part of their long fight to get sufficient funding for public education. After promising to increase the education budget, the government of millionaire business man Horacio Cartes is now giving $50 million which was earmarked for education, to the finance deparment, meaning that the 10% pay rise which teachers had been promised will not be forthcoming. As it is teachers are on the minimum wage. Moreover conditions in schools are bad with only 25% of schools receiving adequate funding according to the teachers union, UNE.

Only last month, teachers went on strike to fight for more funding for public education. The teachers were attacked by police with batons and rubber bullets, resulting in injuries for both teachers and journalists covering the protests.

Over a third of the population in Paraguay lives below the poverty line, while the government is mired in financial scandal. Cartes himself has previously been in jail for fraud. Moreover he is pursuing policies of privatisation and public private partnerships which could see all public services taken over by private companies.

Doctors and healthworkers who are fighting for proper funding for health have also been planning to strike today. The teachers are also joining with indigenous people and small farmers fighting land reform. School students are supporting the struggle for education funding, last month they marched in support of their teachers.