Saturday, March 29, 2008

What's the deal with Bush and his 100,000 acre Paraguay hideaway?

Property sits on one of the largest underground water reserves on Earth

Go to UK Guardian original

Meeting the new couple next door can be an anxious business for even the most relaxed home owner. Will they be international drug traffickers? Have they got noisy kids with a penchant for electronic music? As worries go, however, having the US president move in next door must come fairly low on the list.
Unless of course you are a resident of northern Paraguay and believe reports in the South American press that he has bought up a 100,000 acre (40,500 hectare) ranch in your neck of the woods.

The rumours, as yet unconfirmed but which began with the state-run Cuban news agency Prensa Latina, have triggered an outpouring of conspiracy theories, with speculation rife about what President Bush's supposed interest in the "chaco", a semi-arid lowland in the Paraguay's north, might be.

Some have speculated that he might be trying to wrestle control of the Guarani Aquifer, one of the largest underground water reserves, from the Paraguayans.

Rumours of Mr Bush's supposed forays into South American real estate surfaced during a recent 10-day visit to the country by his daughter Jenna Bush. Little is known about her trip to Paraguay, although officially she travelled with the UN children's agency Unicef to visit social projects. Photographers from the Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color tracked her down to one restaurant in Paraguay's capital AsunciĆ³n, where she was seen flanked by 10 security guards, and was also reported to have met Paraguay's president, Nicanor Duarte, and the US ambassador to Paraguay, James Cason. Reports in sections of the Paraguayan media suggested she was sent on a family "mission" to tie up the land purchase in the "chaco".


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