Teachers in Paraguay are beginning the third week of a strike in their continuing fight for decent pay and pensions. Teachers in the country earn $385 a month, and teachers pensions are only $185 a month - not enough for survival.

The strike comes at a crucial time in Paraguay. The government led by Frederico Franco, who himself took power in what was described by neighbouring heads of state as a coup d'etat from the country's first left wing president Fernando Lugo, is to be replaced by the right wing Colorado party, led by Horacio Cartes. Cartes is a multi-millionaire business man, who has served time in jail for fraud, and has been implicated in drug smuggling scandals. He won votes on the promise of attracting private capital to improve infrastructure in the country, where over a third of the population  live below the poverty line and where services are some of the worst in Latin Ameirca. 

The teachers say they will stage mass protests on August 14th and 15th in the capital Asunciòn during the presidential transfer process. The government have put pressure on the teachers and their unions both by pleading with them - telling them that such action would create a bad impression on foreign visitors - but also by asking the judiciary to make the strikes illegal and threatening those who take part with the sack.

Last year teachers joined with landless farmers demanding land reform and increased funding for education. The farmers were demanding agrarian reform after some had occupied common farm land which had been taken possession of by Blas Riquelme, a business man and Colorado politician, and were evicted by the police after an armed struggle in which ten farmers and seven police died according to reports