Walking down Cruz del Chaco in Villa Morra (my barrio of Asuncion) is like waking down a corridor in an open-air prison. The residents of the neighborhood have seen fit to separate their property from the street by all manner of protection devices. The result for a pedestrian is to be hemmed in from all sides by walls or bars.
What do these people possess that merits such absurd protection? Or what possesses these people to believe they merit such absurd protection? One excuse is money laundering. A lot of the more prominent residents of Villa Morra have businesses that deal almost exclusively with cash, and therefore must find a place to put it all. But why do they make their homes into obscene castles? (No hyperbole here, one home has a turret at the wall, including slits in the side that could have no other purpose than to facilitate boiling oil pouring). Surely there are other ways to indulge in completely tasteless wealth (fifty on the pinky ring just to make my fists glow, for example).
The answer, I believe, is the same reason gangsta rap doesn’t have the same foothold here as it does back home. The elites are terrified. To a suburban Fifty Cent fan "Many Men" feels the same as a suburban nerd feels about Lord of the Rings; gangsta-ism is a fantasy for the most of us. But to in the back of these Paraguayan’s minds they genuinely believe that these hideous chateaus are completely necessary to keep out the unwashed hordes.