Paraguay's Congress on Thursday officially granted President Horatio Cartes [BBC profile] the power to order military interventions without prior legislative approval. The grant of power [Ultima Hora report, in Spanish] came after five security guards were were killed by the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) in northern Paraguay. Opponents of the move argue that granting Cartes such power violates balance of power principles, while proponents argue that it is necessary to combat the criminal activity of the EPP.
The EPP, formed in 2001, is a relatively small, nationalist guerrilla group operating in the northeast region of Paraguay. It is a spin-off of the now defunct fringe group, the Free Homeland Party (PPL). The Paraguayan government characterizes the EPP as a terrorist organization responsible for more than 27 separate armed attacks since 2005. Led by Manuel Cristaldo Mieres, the EPP is believed to be responsible for the kidnapping of Cecilia Cubas, the daughter of former president Raul Cubas. The Paraguayan government hopes that granting Cartes unilateral power to send troops to northern Paraguay will help shut the organization down.