Paraguay: Blue Helmets

Earlier this week, I toured the new Congress building which has been built (and is still under construction) onto the old Jesuit school (until late 1700’s)/hospital/ military school/etc… Right in front of it is a plaza where there were hundreds of angry agriculturists protesting and all I want to do is get some pics of the protest. I thought, “How cool would that be for by blog?” All around the protestors were police men and then there were the infamous “Blue Helmets” (duh dun dun!!!!!!)-*see pic below*

Nickie and Marcos, my brother-in-law, was told me later that the blue helmets are equivalent to our riot police. They also said that they are mean and nasty and their form of “protection” is just beating down practically everyone in sight. Marcos told me a story about an older couple that went to a futbol game, which by the end of it, people were rioting. The “blue helmets” amassed in formation and this older couple thought that they would be safer from the violence if when they escaped, they ran close to the blue helmets. Well, they were wrong because a reporter and camera crew caught on tape a blue helmet swinging his arm and knocking the older man in the head when he came close to him. SO, of you are ever at a futbol game in Paraguay and the blue helmets are there, RUN the other way! By the way, they really do have blue helmets.

Ok, so anyway, back to My story: 100’s of Agriculturists. Big Protest. Me. Wanting to take pictures of it…so Nickie said I shouldn’t. I guess an American swinging her camera around a bunch of angry farmers would not be a good thing, especially when I have my baby with me and we wanted to get a tour of a government building. So, after the tour, I steal some not so great pictures of the protest from afar and ask Nickie if I could steal a picture of the “blue helmets”, to which he said no (remember…people are generally afraid of these guys). Less than a minute later, I muttered something about how it would have been a great story for my blog and a cool picture and Nickie’s mom turns around and says, “I’m going to ask them! The worst they can do is say no!” SO we turn around, follow her and she asks them if I can take a snapshot and they all line up and I get my pic! I could tell that some of them were less than amused, but how can you say “no” to a silly American wanting to take a picture of the infamous “Blue Helmets”?

So this story has many morals: be patient, ask your mother-in-law, ask and you might receive, and don’t worry about looking silly because the silly people are most often the ones who get the best-hard-to-get pictures!

The “Blue Helmets” Squad


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