Landlocked, extremely poor Paraguay has suddenly realized they are the only country in South America without plans to put a satellite in orbit. Ecuador just succeeded, and other Latin American countries are envious. “Where’s our satellite?” the campesino asks, machete in hand, as he hacks at a banana tree.
So Congress has asked the Minister of Defense to propose a program that would let Paraguay join the Mercosur Space Race. Ecuador’s satellites cost about 300 million dollars each. The first one was destroyed by impact with Russian space debris. So a few months later, they sent up a replacement.
The population of Paraguay is about 6 million, so that’s fifty bucks a person for a satellite that will accomplish almost nothing, but make people some people feel a hit of national pride. Minimum wage here is about ten dollars a day, but those jobs are hard to find, and many people in remote places end up working for far less. So they’re proposing everybody go into debt for a week’s wages just for a feather in the national cap.