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We are moving our annual convergence this Fall from the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to the militarized US/Mexico border. The Border Convergence is going to take place from October 7-10, 2016 in Nogales, Arizona/ Sonora. The change of the location goes along with the broadening of the issue and our expanded fight against U.S. militarization at home and abroad.

The convergence is taking place right before the November election. To generate the biggest possible impact, we need to build a strong coalition of groups to make the convergence a success. We hope that you would consider to mobilize your community the Border Convergence.

Can you make a donation to support our work? We rely on contributions from people like you to see campaigns like this through.

Visit SOAW.org/border for more information.

Schedule of Events:

Friday, October 7
  • 9:15am Exhibition of Ten Quilts Memorialize Lives Lost by Migrants Crossing the Desert in the Tucson Sector. This event will take place in the Tucson and Catalina Rooms of the University of Arizona’s Student Union (1303 E. University Blvd., Tucson, Arizona)
  • 5pm - 7:30pm - Vigil and rally at the Eloy Immigrant Detention Center, and Opening of the Convergence Weekend, Welcome, and Know Your Rights Information (1705 E Hanna Rd, Eloy , AZ, 85131)++
  • Welcome and Opening in Nogales, Mexico, 6:00pm-8pm
  • 7pm - 11pm - Concert in Tucson, Arizona at Club Congress, a benefit for No More Deaths. For all that are interested, including People of Color Space participants, and those unable to travel past the Border Patrol checkpoint to Nogales (7pm-11pm, Club Congress, 311 E Congress St, Tucson, AZ)++
Saturday, October 8
  • 8:30am - 9:30am Veteran-led march in Nogales (Sonora/Arizona) kick off on the U.S. side: Hotel Americana, 639 N Grand Ave, Nogales, AZ 85621 kick off on the Mexico side: Plaza Miguel Hidalgo, Fundó Legal, Nogales, Son., Mexico
  • 9:45am - 11:45am - Rally at the border wall in Nogales, Sonora / Arizona with speakers and musicians from across the Americas featured speakers will include Michael McPherson of Veterans for Peace; Hector Barajas, the founder of Deported Veterans Support House in Tijuana, Mexico; Shena Gutierrez, from the Border Patrol Victims Network, Mexico, human rights activist and Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka; Isabel Garcia from the Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, Indigenous Community Defender Nestora Salgado; Maudí Tzy from the Alliance to Break the Silence and End Impunity from Guatemala, SOA Watch Field Organizer Maria Luisa Rosal and Father Roy Bourgeois, SOA Watch founder Live music performances by Pablo Peregrina, Emmas Revolution, Colleen Kattau, Olmeca, the Peace Poets, Natalia Serna La Muna, Son Jarocho musicians, and the SOA Watch Musicians Collective
  • TUCSON - 9 AM - 8 PM - People of Color Space & Youth of Color Space Workshops, Break-Out Groups, and Plenary addressing mutual solidarity, racial and gender justice. For more information on the POCS workshops, please click here. If you are planning on attending the 10/8 POC Space in Tucson, please fill out this Registration/RSVP form. (9am-8pm, Dunbar African American Culture Center, 325 W 2nd St. Tucson, AZ 85705)++
  • Workshops at Hotel Americana (639 N Grand Ave, Nogales, AZ 85621) in Nogales, Arizona (United States), 1:15pm-7:50pm
  • Workshops in Nogales, Sonora (Mexico), 1:15pm-7:50pm
  • Nosh & Reflection: A lunch gathering for Jewish activists and allies
  • Anniversary Vigil for José Antonio Elena Rodríguez in Nogales, Sonora: starting with a march at 4 pm from the Plaza de las Palomas in Nogales, Sonora to the site where Jose Antonio was killed and a 5 pm mass with the Nogales Bishop, inauguration of the installation of a painting of Jose Antonio, followed by a cultural/musical event
  • Interfaith Ceremony at the border wall & candlelight vigil, 6:30pm-8:00pm
  • Cross-border concert at the Mexico/U.S. border wall, 8:00pm-10:30pm with Charlie King, Colleen Kattau, the Peace Poets, emma's revolution, Natalia Serna La Muna, Olmeca, Pablo Peregrina, and Son Jarocho
Sunday, October 9
  • 9am - 1:30pm - ¡No Más! No More! & Presentes, musicians, protest, and art at the border wall We will commemorate those whose lives were lost as a result of state violence. Speakers will include Shannon Rivers, a member of the Akimel O'odham tribe; Padre Prisciliano Peraza, coordinator of CCAMYN in Altar, Sonora; Carlotta of People Helping People from Arivaca; Hector Aristizabal, Colombian human rights activist and torture survivor; Mariela Nájera Romero and Uriel Gamaliel Guzmán, Las Patronas; Marleny Reyes Castillo, Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), Maria Guadalupe Guereca Betancourt and Araceli; Carlos Garcia, Puente; H.I.J.O.S. Mexico; Frier Tomás González Castillo coordinator of La 72, Hogar Refugio para Personas migrantes y refugiadas, en Tenosique, Tabasco; George Paz Martin, peace and justice and climate activist and educator; and there will be musical performances by Francisco Herrera, Natalia Serna La Muna, Gabino Palomares and others
  • TUCSON - Informal gathering/continuation of work from previous day's POC Space for those that cannot or choose not to travel to Nogales (time & location TBA)++
Monday, October 10
  • Vigil for José Antonio Elena Rodríguez (time & location TBA)
  • 10am Block Party - Indigenous People Day 2016 at the Global Justice Center in Tucson, Arizona (225 E 25th St., Tucson, AZ 85713). Neoglyphix, Barrio Mindz, live art, dancers, and music in Resistance + Respect.++
 
Colombia on the road to peace PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sara Koopman   
Friday, 24 June 2016 23:17
Yesterday was the last day of fighting in the world's longest war.

We celebrate the signing of the official cease-fire yesterday between the Colombian government and the FARC guerillas. Colombia's internal conflict officially started in the 1960s, with roots back to the 1940s. As well as being the oldest, it has been the most fatal, with far more deaths and disappearances than any other war in the Americas. A recent report by the official Historical Memory Commission put the conflict related deaths at 220,000 - but even members of the commission considered that to be an extreme undercount because of the danger of reporting deaths. The number of people disappeared is also quite contentious, even between government agencies, but may be around 75,000.

So we celebrate that the parties have signed the cease-fire and ar
e close to signing the full peace agreement that they have been negotiating in Havana, Cuba for the past four years. Yet we mourn that this war happened in the first place and the role that the US has repeatedly played in escalating the conflict, from advising the government to form paramilitaries back in the 1960s, to flooding the country with billions of dollars in military aid, to training more than 10,000 Colombian soldiers at the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC).

Now we need to pressure the US to instead support what will be a delicate transition, and to end its policy of pushing for "military solutions"
. This will be the largest guerilla force that has ever demobilized in the Americas, and they are going to do it much faster than has ever been done before, in a context where there are still large numbers of armed paramilitaries who want to attack them. It's going to be a delicate process that will need a lot of support
.

We know that peace does not come overnight, and that far too many peace accords fail in the implementation phase. As we celebrate this landmark step for peace in the hemisphere, let us renew our commitment. In this post-accords period Colombians will need our solidarity more than ever!

Click here to watch the Democracy Now! segment about the signing of the Colombian cease-fire agreement.

 
HUGE News! Join in Today's Global Day of Action for Berta! PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Wednesday, 15 June 2016 17:15

Your support and the efforts of thousands of others over the last few days, months, and years have paid off in a BIG way! Earlier today, H.R. 5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, was introduced in the House of Representatives. The bill would "suspend United States security assistance with Honduras until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice."

We ask that you take 5 minutes today, the Global Day of Action for Justice for Berta, to email your members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor H.R. 5474. After you have done so, you can also call your Representative to repeat the demand in real time. A short sample call script is below. If you are seeing this message after June 15, it's OK! This is just the beginning of the campaign in support of the bill and emails and phone calls will continue to send a powerful message of solidarity and accountability. But we need to act as quickly as possible to capitalize on the media attention and counteract our opponents. Please call now, a short sample call script is below.

- Call-in information and script: If you do not know your Representative's direct office number, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121. Ask the operator to connect you to your Representative's office directly. If you don't know who your Representative is, that is not a problem - you can give your zip code to the operator and they will connect you.

- Sample script:

"Hi, my name is [[First_Name]] and I am a constituent. I live in _____. I would like to speak with the foreign policy aide that handles Latin America for Representative _____ to discuss a new bill, HR 5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights In Honduras Act.

(Wait for the aide, or if they are not available, write down their name and leave a message for them)

If aide is available to speak: I am calling to ask that Representative _____ co-sponsor HR 5474, the Berta Cáceres Human Rights In Honduras Act. The bill would "suspend United States security assistance with Honduras until such time as human rights violations by Honduran security forces cease and their perpetrators are brought to justice." Have you and Representative ______ seen the bill? Will they cosponsor?

The government has squandered our tax dollars to arm and train a government that has been credibly linked to countless human rights violations and death squad activity. This needs to stop today. I will follow up with you to make sure that Representative ______ is aware of the bill and makes the correct decision to co-sponsor HR 5474.

Leaving a message: Same as above script without the questions at end of first paragraph.

Today is the Global Day of Action for Justice for Berta, and there are protests being held around the world in her honor. We hope that you are able to join in person, online, or over the phone today. H.R. 5474 is the result of years of hard work and support. We will continue to update you on the progress of the bill, as it will be a continued just struggle to get it passed. But make no mistake, this is a victory for you, a victory for all of us that want a just relationship with Honduras and the rest of the world!

In Solidarity,
SOA Watch

SOA Watch
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Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 June 2016 17:33
 
June 15: Global Day of Action Demanding Justice for Berta PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Thursday, 26 May 2016 22:46

SOA Watch stands with the Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH), an Indigenous Lenca organization made up of 200 Lenca communities in Honduras. COPINH has issued a call for protests around the world on June 15, 2016, to demand justice for Berta Cáceres.

Last Updated on Sunday, 05 June 2016 22:35
Read more...
 
4 arrested for murder of Berta Cáceres in Honduras PDF Print E-mail
Written by Brigitte Gynther   
Wednesday, 04 May 2016 15:50

On Monday morning, the Honduran authorities arrested 4 men in relation to the murder of internationally renowned activist Berta Cáceres -- 2 are retired or active members of the Honduran Armed Forces and 2 have ties to DESA, the company building the Agua Zarca hydroelectric project that Berta was campaigning against. With even the Honduran government investigators now admitting the assassins have ties to the Honduran Armed Forces, it is time once and for all for the United States to end financing and training of the Honduran security forces. Berta's family and COPINH continue to call for the Inter-American Human Rights Commission to investigate the case.  It is hard to believe that the Honduran government has the political will to investigate the higher-ups who may have helped plan or known about Berta's murder; as Berta's daughter Laura Zuniga Cáceres told The Guardian, “The Honduran state is too closely linked to the murder of my mother to carry out an independent investigation.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 May 2016 15:52
Read more...
 
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