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Join SOA Watch for the 2015 Spring Days of Action! PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 05 February 2015 22:12

School of the Americas Watch is mobilizing this April for our Spring Days of Action (SDOA). Our 2015 SDOA theme is "Growing Stronger

Together - Resisting the 'Drug War' Across the Americas". Will you help us take the message to Washington, DC?

Join us for actions in the streets and halls of Congress to hasten the end of the Drug War and its accompanying destruction. Part of social change is grassroots power, and we'll be having a welcome party, congressional visits, critical mass bike ride, concert, movement strategy session, and more! Register to join us in D.C. April 22-25

SOA Watch will also be hosting a series of virtual lobby trainings in the lead up to the Spring Days of Action. For more information and to register, please click here.

Growing The movement's continued commitment to justice has only made our roots deeper and our reach towards the sun lengthen. More recently, SOA Watch's partnership with #UStired2 and other groups protesting the U.S. funding and militarizing of the Drug War in Mexico, have made seedlings whispering in the wind take root and cultivate in our shared communities. This April we continue in this same tradition of growing by challenging the Drug War in Mexico, Central America, Colombia, and in the U.S.

Stronger Change occurs over time, sprouting from the seeds planted by those who have come before us. Now, it is our job to continue to grow the movement, push for greater change, and continue building an alternative to war and Empire. State violence and impunity, Mass incarceration, the root causes of migration, the criminalization of dissent - the greatest social struggles we are currently resisting in the hemisphere are linked by the disastrous "Drug War".

Together We are many communities in resistance, in Mexico, the U.S. and throughout the Americas, working for self-determination, justice, and an end to the violence of the Drug War. We are taking our message to Washington, DC not as individuals, but as a collective, echoing the millions of voices speaking truth to power and telling our own histories and herstories so that the powers that be cannot claim ignorance of the truth, and make a decision whether or not they will be part of the change for a better, more peaceful world.

Confronting The War on Drugs

The “Drug War” is militarizing, incarcerating, and killing communities in Latin America and in the U.S., especially traditionally oppressed peoples. Let's join join together this Spring to tell Congress the War on Drugs must end. Register for Spring Days of Action today! And register for our virtual lobby trainings, every other week leading up to the SDOA by clicking on this link.

The enforced disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico proved once again that the disastrous results of U.S. military aid and training in Latin America are ongoing. Similarly, in Ferguson and other U.S. cities have reminded us that police militarization and the treatment of black and brown people as internal enemies are also major problems in the U.S., while putting into context what militarization looks like on the ground for so many in Latin America and beyond. Check out the video above of Arturo, SOA Watch's Legislative Organizer, work with others in the movement to confront Congressional Representatives about the War on Drugs in Mexico in January, 2015.

How to get to DC Where to stay in DC Local Organizing

Questions? Suggestions? Ideas? Please contact Arturo  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (202) 234-3440.

Together We Will Demand:

  • End the Drug War in Latin America! We demand an end to "security" aid & military training of Latin American soldiers and police. Drug use is a social health issue, it can  no longer be used as an excuse to militarize, control, and exacerbate violence in Latin America. !Ya Basta!
  • End the Drug War in the U.S.! Pass the "Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act"! Our communities in the U.S. are also not battlefields, they are where people live and love. The Pentagon needs to stop sending "free" military weapons to police forces, who look more and more like soldiers, not peace officers.
  • Freedom for Nestora Salgado, U.S. and Mexican citizen & target of the Drug War, from solitary confinement!

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, April 22 7pm Opening Celebration at Haydee's Restaurant (3102 Mount Pleasant St. NW)

Thursday, April 23 Lobby trainings and visits on Capitol Hill

Friday, April 24 - Grassroots Lobbying, Direct Action, Critical Mass Bike Ride, Concert

Saturday, April 25 - SOA Watch Forum and Strategy Session

Last Updated on Sunday, 22 February 2015 00:49
 
Eve and Nashua Stand Trial in Columbus, Georgia and Celebrate Victory for SOA Watch! PDF Print E-mail
Written by María Luisa Rosal   
Saturday, 31 January 2015 20:45

Eve and Nashua Stand Trial in Columbus, Georgia and Celebrate Victory for SOA Watch!

On Thursday morning, Eve Tetaz and Nashua Chantal stood trial before US District Judge Stephen Hyles in Columbus, Georgia. The prosecution called for Eve, an 83 year-old retired public school teacher and longtime peace activist, and Nashua, a 62 year-old longtime SOA Watch activist, to be incarcerated for the six-month maximum for illegal entry onto Ft. Benning on November 23, 2014. Ft. Benning is home of the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 (SOA/WHINSEC).

During their sentencing by judge Stephen Hyles, the courtroom, as well as the JAG attorneys were surprised when Nashua was sentenced to a 5 year probation, and Eve was sentenced to a $5,000 fine. Neither of them was sentenced to prison, something that judge Hyles has been notorious for imposing on nonviolent activists since beginning his tenure in 2010. Represented by Anna Lellelid and Bill Quigley, of the SOA Watch Legal Collective, Eve and Nashua were accompanied by Fr. Roy, Coleman Smith of the Pupetistas, SOA Watch Council Member Ken Hayes, Irene Rodriguez of the SOA Watch Communications Collective, Anton Flores of Georgia Detention Watch/AlternCommunity, members of Nashua's community in Americus, and SOA Watch Field Organizer Maria Luisa Rosal.

During the press conference before entering the courtroom, Anna Lellelid stated, "Eve is planning to plea not guilty. Nashua crossed over a fence, and he was protesting the violations of human rights committed by graduates of the School of the Americas, and he will be peading guilty, and hoping to serve community service with Habitat for Humanity in his community and continue to serve the people that he loves." Bill Quigley stated, "We hope we are going to be walking out with both of these people today."

During their trial, both Eve and Nashua addressed the court and spoke truth to power, highlighting the horrors of the School of the Americas:

Nashua stated, "I did cross the fence to protest the human rights violations in Latin America. I am totally supportive of the work of School of the Americas Watch, particularly the work to release the names of the gradautes. If they are proud of the school, they should be proud of their graduates." After pleading guilty and requesting community service instead of prison, Nashua also said, "I have made my point. I have stood up for human rights."

Similarly, Eve put the SOA on trial, as well as a US culture of militarism when she affirmed, "torture is not a political tool. My own President asks 'is this who we are?'. All of us would like to say no, but if the School of the Americas is kept open, then I am afraid the answer is yes. This is who we are."

Thursday's trial was a victory for the SOA Watch movement. Through their actions, Eve and Nashua continued to denounce the SOA, and in doing so, were still able to walk out of a courtroom that has historically seen harsh prison sentences handed down to others within the movement that have crossed the line in the past. To date, over 300 people have collectively served over 100 years of prison sentences for their nonviolent acts of civil disobedience to call attention to the SOA/WHINSEC. SOA Watch maintains that those responsible for the SOA torture manuals and for the training of repressive foreign militaries, are the ones who should stand trial and be held accountable. Nashua and Eve are to be commended for speaking truth to power. They continue the long tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience.

Our work to close the SOA and to change oppressive US foreign policy towards Latin America continues. In the face of more violence against our brothers and sisters in Latin America - the 43 disappeared students in Ayotzinapa, the continued violence and repression in Honduras, the impunity in Guatemala - we continue to organize and to come up with creative forms of resistance.

La lucha sigue, the struggle continues.



Last Updated on Saturday, 31 January 2015 21:01
 
#FreeNestora & #StopPlanMexico PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jenne Ristau   
Friday, 16 January 2015 02:52

Help Us Follow Up On Last Week's Actions And Congressional Visits

Demand release of U.S. citizen and political prisoner, Nestora Salgado, and an end to the US government's deadly "Plan Mexico"

Pressure mounted outside the White House and in Congress last week to end U.S. funding of the disastrous Drug War in Mexico. While the Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, met with President Obama, hundreds gathered outside the White House to demand justice for the over 25,000 forcefully disappeared and 100,000 killed due to the collusion of police, military, and cartels since the U.S. and Mexico escalated the militarization of the country in 2006. Mexican/Chican@ activists, and allies including Arturo, SOA Watch's Advocacy Coordinator and #USTired2 DC coordinator, are featured in the AJ+ video at left "The Fight for Mexican Human Rights Goes to Congress". Help us amplify the voices of milliones of Mexicans who have had enough after after the 43 forced disappearances in Ayotzinapa by calling and/or tweeting your Members of Congress.

Senators told us-

“Ask constituents to tweet and call us”

For three days, SOA Watch helped set up meetings between human rights advocates and congressional offices, where we demanded an end to Plan Mexico - the $3 billion funding project that trains and arms Mexican troops and other "Drug War" aid and training that is wasting taxpayer money on cartel-infiltrated Mexican security forces..

#StopPlanMexico Many directly affected community members traveled from afar to participate in the protest and meetings, including Jose Luis Avila, whose wife, Nestora Salgado, is a political prisoner in Mexico due to her organizing with indigenous community police forces in Guerrero state. The lobby visits were very successful, as many congressional offices were unaware that U.S. military spending in Mexico results in serious human rights abuses and agreed the status quo is intolerable.

#FreeNestora We will continue to demand the release of political prisoner, indigenous leader and dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, Nestora Salgado; whose release was ordered by a Mexican federal judge but has been unlawfully imprisoned under solitary confinement(!!!) for 16 months in a maximum security prison in El Rincon, Nayarit. Nestora has been targeted for denouncing public officials who collude with known drug-trafficers and mining companies to force indigenous communities off of their land.

Tweet now. Call now (number and call script below).

Type in your zipcode here to get the number and twitter handle of your representative: http://bit.ly/14rgjfr *

Sample Tweets: #FreeNestora #StopPlan Mexico #USTired2

.[@InsertYourSenator] Not just a "few bad apples". End US military & police aid to Mexico #FreeNestora #StopPlanMexico

.[@InsertYourSenator] Do more 4 Nestora Salgado- US Citizen, indigenous leader & political prisoner in #Mexico #USTired2 #FreeNestora

.[@InsertYourSenator]Haga más para Nestora Salgado- US Citizen, lider indigena y presa política en #Mexico #USTired2 #FreeNestoraYa

Call - (202) 224-3121 and ask to be connected to your Senator's office. We have even provided a script for grassroots lobbyists (that means you) below:

Read more...
 
Enrique Peña Nieto is NOT WELCOME PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Saturday, 03 January 2015 18:11
Memoria y Resistencia
Protest against the U.S. "War on Drugs"

When Mexico's President Enrique Peña Nieto came to Washington, DC and met with President Obama at the White House, we were there as well to raise our voices in protest.

Memoria y Resistencia

Tens of thousands have been murdered and disappeared in Mexico as part of the US-sponsored "War on Drugs," which is being used as cover for political violence. Social movements in Mexico have unleashed massive protests to call for justice and accountability. Hundreds of human rights activists joined the chorus and converged on the White House on January 6.

For photos from the protest, click here


A focus of the protest was the disappearance of 43 students from the teachers college in Ayotzinapa, Mexico. Click here to read the story of September 26, 2014, the day 43 Mexican students went missing — and how it might be a turning point for the country.

Travel to Mexico
SOA Watch is planning to send a delegation to Mexico later this year. We will meet with Mexican social movements, who are demanding an end to the militarized "drug war" in which 100,000 people have died, with 30,000 disappeared, as well as visit activists struggling to defend their land and livelihoods. With the US financing repression by training the Mexican military at the School of the Americas and other institutions, and by sending millions in military aid through Plan Merida, we will also discuss ways to hold the US accountable.
Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you are interested in being part of the SOA Watch delegation to Mexico. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 January 2015 18:26
 
News from the Americas (US, Mexico, Honduras, Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, Guantanamo) PDF Print E-mail
Written by SOAW Equipos Norte y Sur   
Friday, 19 December 2014 00:16

"We who believe in Freedom cannot rest until it comes," the famous line from the civil rights anthem "Ella's Song" by Bernice Johnson Reagon, holds true for SOA Watch these days. Since the powerful November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, SOA Watch activists have joined the massive mobilizations against police killings of people of color in the US, mobilized in solidarity with the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, pushed back against impunity for US torturers, delivered a letter to Barack Obama and held vigils in 4 cities on International Human Rights Day, and more.

There's a lot happening, and a lot to do! This SOA Watch email newsletter is providing updates about recent developments throughout the Americas:

1) Ayotzinapa No se Olvida - La Lucha Sigue!
2) Honduras: "Drug War" Militarization/SOA Grads
3) Turn in US-Cuba Relations
4) BREAKING NEWS: Obama  Signs Sanctions against Venezuela, CALL White House NOW
5) End the Occupation of Haiti
6) Time to Close Guantánamo


January 5-7, 2015: Enrique Peña Nieto in DC
Ayotzinapa No Se Olvida, La Lucha Sigue!
Displaying barack_enrique.jpg

Weeks of intense  mobilizations in Mexico carry on as new information about the Mexican federal police’s involvement in the disappearance of 43 students from Ayotzinapa surfaced and more questions about official claims that all of the kidnapped students were killed and burnt in Cocula arise. Friends and relatives of the abducted students were again attacked by the federal police while preparing a solidarity concert on Sunday morning. As the repression continues, protests in Mexico AND the US continue as well!

A series of high profile massacres, the incarceration and repression of activists, and the collaboration between the state and organized crime, has unmasked the true face of  Enrique Peña Nieto's administration. President Obama has finally weighed in by ... welcoming the Mexican President for a visit to the White House and doubling down on the US' disastrous Drug War policies!?!?

SOA Watch has been active in bringing attention to the recent events in Mexico and the US' role in them through email updates, online actions, our “Greatly Missed” poster campaign and by organizing the Washington, DC vigil and petition delivery to Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) that was part of the nationwide "USTired2" actions on 12/03/14.

We will continue to do so during Peña Nieto’s visit in Washington, DC as part of a coalition that will “not Welcome” him on January 5-7, 2015! Join Ayotzinapa parents, SOA Watch, #USTired2 , Mexican@S Sin Fronteras and hundreds, if not thousands, on January 6th between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm in front of the White House for a Day of Protest. Mexican Human Rights defenders, including a teacher and parent of a disappeared Ayotzinapa student plan to travel to the US to be part of the protest. Lobbying of key Senators and a National Call-In Action are also in the works for January 5-7! Stay tuned for more details or contact our Advocacy Coordinator at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it if you want to participate in the protest or grassroots lobbying.

Last Updated on Friday, 19 December 2014 01:27
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