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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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Hold the Torturers Accountable! PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 16 December 2014 21:52
Lack of Prosecution of U.S. Officials Paved the Way for New Abuses

Reports of US-sponsored torture by the CIA and in Brazil have put the issue back in the media spotlight. SOA Watch maintains that torture is nothing new within the US military, and that it didn't start with 9/11. The lack of accountability for the use of the SOA torture manuals at the School of the Americas, and other atrocities, contributed to the torture that was perpetrated by the CIA and publicized in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture.

Click here to read the SOA Watch media release Torture has a long History in U.S. Policy.

Click here to send a message to Congress and President Obama, to demand prosecutions of U.S. officials involved in torture and human rights abuses.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 17:14
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Mobilizations Connect Struggles against State Violence PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Thursday, 04 December 2014 18:41
"You Can't Stop the Revolution!"

You Can't Stop the RevolutionEdward Dubose of the NAACP and 2,500 human rights activists chanted "You Can't Stop the Revolution" at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia (video). We are as determined as ever to end militarized state violence in the US and abroad.

The 25th November Vigil themed "Communities in Resistance, Presentes!" was a great success and brought together torture survivors, migrants, people of faith, students, union workers and grassroots activists from Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Venezuela, Canada, and the United States. Together, we are building a new culture of justice and peace. Click here to watch a video from the vigil by Jihan Hafiz and check out the photos by Tom Bottolene, Amy Held, and others.

Linking Immigrant Rights and the Struggle against US Militarization:
On Saturday, November 22 a procession of over 1,000 human rights activists marched from Lumpkin, Georgia to the Stewart Detention Center. Procession at the gates of Fort Benning, GeorgiaActivists called for an end to the unjust imprisonment of immigrants and denounced the clear connection between US militarization and forced migration. Click here for photos from the march to Stewart.

On Sunday, November 23, the solemn funeral procession at the gates of Fort Benning commemorated those murdered at the hands of School of the Americas/WHINSEC graduates, including 16-year old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos and six Jesuit priests, who were massacred in 1989 at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador, as well as activists from Honduras, Mexico and Colombia killed earlier this year.

If you attended the November Vigil, we want to hear from you. Please take a moment to fill out the vigil survey.

ColombiaSimultaneous actions were organized in Bogota, Colombia and in Santiago, Chile. Click here to watch a video from the Colombia action, which took place on November 21 in front of the Defense Ministry, demanding that Colombia stop sending soldiers to the SOA/ WHINSEC. For a report back and photos from the march to the presidential palace in Santiago, Chile, click here.


We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes
Speakers on the stage at the gates of Fort Benning, and in several of the workshops in the Columbus Convention Center, talked about the link between US-backed militarization in Latin America, and the militarization of US police forces. The looming decision about possible charges against the police officer who shot Michael Brown in Ferguson, was on everyones mind. When the appalling Grand Jury decision was announced on Monday, SOA Watch activists joined countless marches and rallies, and took to the streets throughout the country. Our struggles stand together!

Yesterday, we took to the streets again, as part of the national day of action against Plan Mexico. In DC, we joined forces with #DCFerguson, and shut down Dupont Circle to call attention to the murder of 43 students from #Ayotzinapa in Mexico, the police murder of Eric Garner and Mike Brown; and to protest the militarization of our communities across the Americas.


Nonviolent Direct Action in Georgia - Crossing the Line
Nonviolent Direct Action and prison witness has been a key element of many struggles for social justice. Seven of our friends were arrested during the vigil weekend and are facing charges:
Eve being handcuffed by Military Police
On Sunday, November 23, Eve Tetaz, an 83-year-old author, veteran peace and justice activist and retired public schoolteacher from Washington, DC, crossed through a side entrance onto the Fort Benning military base in a solitary nonviolent witness, carrying with her a poster of one of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa, disappeared in Mexico, and the prophetic Isaiah verse, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares.” After the procession at the main gates concluded, longtime SOA Watch activist Nashua Chantal, a 62-year-old human rights defender from Americus, Georgia, Nashua Crossing the Linecarried a ladder to the fence which military police erected to keep our peaceful message from entering the base. This is the third arrest at Fort Benning for Nashua, who previously served a three-month sentence in 2005 and six months in 2013 for crossing the line. Click here to watch a video of Nashua crossing the line.

Nashua and Eve are scheduled to appear in court for their arraignment on January 13, 2015. They are facing up to six months in federal prison for their nonviolent witness for justice.

Five other solidarity activists, Anton Flores, Jason McGaughey, Kevin Caron, Maureen Fitzsimons, and Rebecca Kanner were arrested on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the gates of the Stewart Detention Center. Arrests at the Stewart Detention CenterThe five carried their nonviolent message of justice and dignity for all onto the property of the Corrections Corporation of America, which warehouses 1,800 men at Stewart for profit in horrific conditions which dehuminize and attempt to take away migrant's dignity. Click here to watch a video of the civil disobedience action.

SOA/WHINSEC training is among the roots causes which force people to migrate and flee their countries. Many immigrants to the United States are victims of US-sponsored military atrocities in Latin America. In its fight to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC, SOA Watch continues to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence. SOA Watch considers deportation quotas, mandatory detention, for-profit immigration detention centers, the militarization of the border, the drug war and the training of repressive forces at the SOA/WHINSEC, as all parts of the same racist system of violence and domination. A dismantling of these and other policies is needed for there ever to be true "Comprehensive Immigration Reform."

Get organized! For tips for your local organizing work on creating egalitarian structures, building community, holding meetings, speaking publicly, fundraising etc, visit soaw.org/organize

P.S. Can you make a $25 donation to SOA Watch?


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Last Updated on Thursday, 04 December 2014 18:43
 
Tell the U.S. Gov - End Plan Mexico! Ayotzinapa Presente! PDF Print E-mail

Join Thousands Across the U.S. to Demand End to Plan Mexico

We wrapped up another energizing November Vigil last week! Thanks to all that made it to Georgia from 11/21-11/23! We will get a full vigil report back to you soon. For now, we invite you to come out to one of over 43 events across the U.S. for the 43 missing Ayotzinapa students this Wednesday, December 3 and to sign an online petition urging the Senate to initiate a long overdue review of U.S. military aid to Mexico:

About 2 months ago, the Mexican police killed six people and disappeared 43 students from Ayotzinapa. This horrific event has unleashed an unprecedented protest movement in Mexico, where the Ayotzinapa 43 have become a symbol of the over 25,000 disappeared and 100,000 killed since "Plan Mexico" was implemented through U.S. funding and military training.

This Wednesday, December 3rd, it will be the turn of those living in the U.S. to demand an end to their government's complicity in the human rights violations in Mexico. Demonstrations will be held in over 43 cities to symbolize the Ayotzinapa 43. We urge you to attend an event near you (organizers are asking protesters to wear white), which are being organized under the banner of #UStired2, a modification of the protest and social media refrain from Mexico, #YaMeCanse, which has gone viral.

Click Here to Find a 12/3 Event Near You

We are also asking our supporters to sign and share the following petition to Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who is the Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committe: http://SOAW.org/mexico

Sen. Menendez needs to utilize his sizable power to hold a hearing to review the effects of U.S. military and police aid to Mexico. The petition has already signed by thousands after being written and promoted by our allies at Presente.org. Sen. Menendez is already feeling the heat from activists like you, and it is time to turn it up even higher. The petition and signatures will be delivered to Sen. Menendez's DC office on Wednesday 12/3. Please add your voice to the growing chorus demanding an end to U.S. complicity in massacres and corruption in Mexico.

The Ayotzinapa massacre has tragically highlighted the Mexican state's increasing involvement in gross human rights violations since the escalation of the so-called "Drug War" in 2006, an escalation militarily, politically, and financially backed by the U.S. This Wednesday, together we will lift the veil of impunity and denounce the U.S.’s role in the violence-as-development model. From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson, we demand justice!

In solidarity,

SOA Watch - Ana, Arturo, Brigitte, Hendrik, Jenne, Katherine, Karolina, Maria Luisa, Pablo, and Roy

Last Updated on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 16:00
 
November Vigil Concludes with Solemn Funeral Procession & Two More Civil Disobedience Arrests PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Monday, 24 November 2014 16:48

Reportbacks, vidoes, photos of the 25th Annual Vigil:
Communities in Resistance, Presentes!


Grassroots Mobilizations Connect Struggles against State Violence and Injustice


Columbus, Georgia – 2,500 human rights activists braved the rainstorms on Sunday, November 23 and converged at Fort Benning to call for an end to militarized state violence in the US and abroad. Featured presenters came from Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, Brazil, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Venezuela, and the US.

Following the stage program, a solemn funeral procession commemorated those murdered at the hands of School of the Americas/WHINSEC graduates, including the two women and six Jesuit priests who were massacred in 1989 at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador, as well as activists from Honduras, Mexico and Colombia killed earlier this year.  

Eve Tetaz, an 83-year-old author, veteran peace and justice activist and retired public schoolteacher from Washington, DC, crossed the line onto Fort Benning in solitary nonviolent witness at 9 am, carrying with her a poster of one of the 43 students disappeared in Ayotzinapa, Mexico this September, and the prophetic Isaiah verse, “they shall beat their swords into plowshares.” After the procession concluded, longtime SOA Watch activist Nashua Chantal, a 62-year-old human rights defender from Americus, Georgia, carried a ladder to the fence which military police erected to keep our peaceful message from entering the base. This is the third arrest at Fort Benning for Chantal, who previously served a three-month sentence in 2005 and six months in 2013 for crossing the line.

Five other solidarity activists were arrested yesterday on Saturday, November 22, 2014 at the gates of the Stewart Detention Center. The five carried their nonviolent message of justice and dignity for all onto the property of the Corrections Corporation of America, which warehouses 1,800 men at Stewart for profit in horrific conditions which have led to the death of at least one detainee.

The civil disobedience action followed a procession of about 1,000 human rights activists from Lumpkin, Georgia to the Stewart Detention Center. Activists called for an end to the unjust imprisonment of immigrants and denounced the clear connection between US militarization and forced migration.

SOA/WHINSEC training is among the roots causes which force people to migrate and flee their countries. Many immigrants to the United States are victims of US-sponsored military atrocities in Latin America. In its fight to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC, SOA Watch continues to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence. SOA Watch considers deportation quotas, mandatory detention, for-profit immigration detention centers, the militarization of the border, the drug war and the training of repressive forces at the SOA/WHINSEC, as all parts of the same racist system of violence and domination. A dismantling of these and other policies is needed for there ever to be true "Comprehensive Immigration Reform."

###

for photos and videos of the November Vigil weekend, visit http://SOAW.org/november

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 16:07
 
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