By William Costa, The Guardian
A 1,600-hectare (4,000-acre) gated community, dubbed El Paraíso Verde, or the Green Paradise, is being carved out of the fertile red earth of Caazapá, one of Paraguay’s poorest regions.
The community’s population – consisting mainly of German, Austrian and Swiss immigrants – will eventually swell from 150 to 3,000, according to the owners.
The project’s website bills it as “by far the largest urbanization and settlement project in South America”, describing the colony as a refuge from “socialist trends of current economic and political situations worldwide” – as well as “5G, chemtrails, fluoridated water, mandatory vaccinations and healthcare mandates”.
Immigration to the colony has stepped up since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with residents interviewed on its YouTube channel attributing their move to scepticism about the virus and vaccines.
Caazapá, a rural region dominated by cattle ranching in the heart of lush eastern Paraguay, saw a jump from four new German residents in 2019 to 101 in 2021, according to official figures. “Anti-vaxxer” immigrants have also been reported settling in other parts of Paraguay.
One German citizen who lives nearby and who does business with Paraíso Verde, cited discredited conspiracy theories about coronavirus vaccines to explain the surge. They claimed that Paraguay’s accommodating immigration laws have proved attractive to Germans who want to “escape the matrix” and flee the “deep state and one world order”.