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Declaration from the Encuentro of Peoples: Resisting Militarism and Promoting a Culture of Peace PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 01 July 2010 19:11

Sanare, Venezuela, June 25, 2010

We, the delegates from the undersigned organizations of the First Encuentro of the Peoples: Resisting Militarism and Promoting a Culture of Peace, hailing from nineteen countries of the Hemisphere - Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, México, Haiti, Dominican Republic, the United States and Canada - declare the following:

During the five days of the Encuentro, we reflected on the militarization of the Americas and particularly on the coup in Honduras, both of which represent a backwards movement and a danger for the democracies of the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean.

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SOA Watch Encuentro PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:11

From June 21-26, 2010, grassroots activists from across the Americas will come together in Venezuela.

Representatives from 16 Latin American countries will join an equal number of representatives from North American SOA Watch grassroots groups. Click here to view the list of participants.

This South-North SOA Watch Encuentro will connect activists from both sides of the Rio Grande to find ways to work together to close the SOA, while opening new doors of relating to one another with dignity.

The SOA Watch Encuentro builds upon the efforts of SOA Watch’s Partnership America Latina (PAL), an initiative that seeks to connect the SOA Watch movement in North with those affected by the school in the South.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 June 2010 15:27
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Latest SOA Watch News PDF Print E-mail


For photos of the recent DC street theater action and for ideas on how to replicate it in your community, click here.

Spring Event Report

by Cassandra Morgan, SOA Watch

SOA Watch held its annual Spring Event in Washington, DC from April 17-19, 2010. The weekend was full of great events including an anti-oppression workshop, discussions about torture, immigration, as well as a panel discussion about the recent U.S.-Colombia bases agreement. We started Saturday night with a social gathering where SOA Watch activists were able to meet and talk about the events for the weekend.

Sunday morning started with a great workshop discussing anti-oppression in US foreign policy and within our own movement to close the SOA. Cathy Woodson of the Virginia Organizing Project lead participants in a variety of activities exploring ways to stop the cycle of oppression and how to address it while continuing to move forward with our movement. We continued the day with a self evaluation of the movement's work, addressing strengths, weaknesses, and suggestions for change. We will be sure to follow up with you all about the these suggestions. Later, we were joined by Reverend Richard Killmer and Orlando Tizon who discussed torture and why it is so important to hold our government accountable to make sure that torture is stopped.

The afternoon continued with a discussion of the connections between immigration and the SOA with Sarahi Uribe of the US Social Forum, where we also discussed recently proposed legislation by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, SB 1070, which would encourage police to engage in racial profiling and criminalize undocumented migrants for entering into Arizona. The day ended with a great panel discussion on the Colombia bases with Adam Isacson of the Center for International Policy, Livia Suarez of the Venezuelan Embassy, and John Lindsay Poland of the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR), and what this new agreement between the US and Colombia means for future relations.

Our lobby day on Monday, April 19 started off with some great street theater at the top of the steps exiting the Capital South metro station. Others lined the street leading to the representatives’ offices handing out flyers about the SOA to staffers on their way to work. People were able to use the skills from Saturday's lobby training, led by SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator Pam Bowman, and stopped in to various offices and talk about our bill H.R.2567, the bill that would suspend operations at WHINSEC while conducting an investigation into the torture manuals and the human rights abuses, and assessing the military training in Latin America. We asked our representatives to support their constituents by cosponsoring H.R. 2567.

The weekend reaffirmed our beliefs in the fight to close the SOA/WHINSEC and why we are fighting so hard to do so. We hope that you feel our passion and drive and that you continue with us on this journey.

Stand with Honduras!

We urge you to send a message to your Member of Congress to share your concerns for the deteriorating human rights situation in Honduras and to insist that the United States stop their efforts to push for international recognition of the Lobo government.

In addition, please ask your Member of Congress to call for an end to the training of the Honduran military at the School of the Americas, now referred to as WHINSEC. Indeed, it is distressing that even in the months that the Obama administration was condemning the coup, the training of the Honduran military at the SOA/ WHINSEC continued.


Click here for the final part of the graphic history of the Honduran coup. The comic is piecing together the evidence of repression, violence and threats against resistance members that went mostly undocumented in the wake of the November 29, 2010 Honduran elections. It also looks at the United States' involvement.
Read the comic here.

SOA Watch Activists Sentenced to Federal Prison

On January 25, 2010 in Columbus, Georgia, human rights advocates Nancy Gwin, Ken Hayes, and Fr. Louis Vitale were all given maximum federal prison sentences of six months each for civil disobedience opposing the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC). Along with Michael Walli, these three individuals crossed onto Fort Benning property on November 22, 2009. Michael consciously chose to not return for his trial, and the Judge issued a warrant for his arrest.


To read the press release, click here.
To read Nancy Gwin's court statement, click here.
To read Ken Hayes' court statement, click here.

Distribute Presente

Pre-order and distribute 150 copies of the upcoming Spring 2010 issue of Presente, the newspaper of the movement to close the SOA, for only $26! Click here to order.

Along with a two page, full-color comic depicting the history of the SOA created by artists Dan Archer and Nikil Saval, the upcoming issue of Presente will also feature a report from the January 25, 2010 trial of the SOA 4. Order Now!

Haiti Devastated by Largest Earthquake in 200 Years, Thousands Feared Dead

On Tuesday, January 12, 2010, a major magnitude 7.0 quake devastated Haiti, the epi-center 10 miles south-west of the capital city, Port-au-Prince, a city of close to 3,000,000 people. For more information click here.

2010 Delegations to Latin America

Travel with Father Roy Bourgeois to El Salvador, Learn about ALBA in Venezuela and the current situation in Nicaragua, Explore How Corporate Globalization is Affecting Indigenous Communities Constructing Autonomy in Chiapas, and Stand in Solidarity with the People of Honduras and Colombia. Click here for more information


SOA/ WHINSEC legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives! Check out the Legislative Action Index for more information...





Click here to sign the petition to Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega.




Click here to download petition forms - Click here to sign the petition online



About the School of the Americas / Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation

The US Army School of Americas (SOA), based in Fort Benning, Georgia, trains Latin American security personnel in combat, counter-insurgency, and counter-narcotics. SOA graduates are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Among the SOA's nearly 60,000 graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians. (See Grads in the News).

In an attempt to deflect public criticism and disassociate the school from its dubious reputation, the SOA was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001. The name change was a result of a Department of Defense proposal included in the Defense Authorization Bill for Fiscal 2001, at a time when SOA opponents were poised to win a congressional vote on legislation that would have dismantled the school. The name-change measure passed when the House of Representatives defeated a bi-partisan amendment to close the SOA and conduct a congressional investigation
by a narrow ten-vote margin. (See Talking Points, Critique of New School, Vote Roll Call.)

In a media interview, Georgia Senator and SOA supporter the late Paul Coverdell characterized the DOD proposal as a "cosmetic" change that would ensure that the SOA could continue its mission and operation. Critics of the SOA concur.

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and media work to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA represent. We are grateful to our sisters and brothers throughout Latin America and the the Caribbean for their inspiration and the invitation to join them in their struggle for economic and social justice.

 

 
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