Delegations to El Salvador, Paraguay, Chile and the border
Feliz Año Nuevo from the South! We send saludos y felicidades and hopes that we may continue to work together South and North to resist the culture of violence and militarization, and create a new culture of peace.
Peace becomes a greater possibility when we connect with others working for justice in different corners of our globe. Last year, SOA Watch delegations brought important victories to the SOA Watch movement, with two more country withdrawals from the SOA. Delegations also formed new friendships, laid groundwork for further victories, sparked creative ideas that help peace-making efforts of both sides of the border.
This year we invite you to participate in SOA Watch's efforts of citizen diplomacy by joining one of our 2013 delegations. We will be traveling to El Salvador to honor Monsenor Romero's martrydom and ask the government to withdraw from the SOA. We will go to Paraguay to observe presidential elections and visit areas of land conflict that were used to justify last year's "express coup". We will stand at the southern border of the US in solidarity with immigrants and those affected by border violence and militarization. We will journey to Chile for the 40th anniversary of Pinochet's coup and express solidarity with students and Mapuche peoples struggling to shape a just society.
Join us! Together, North and South, we can make a difference!
If you are interested in any of these delegations, please contact Lisa Sullivan for more information.
Four Chilean SOA Graduates Charged with 1973 Murder of Victor Jara
On Friday, December 27, Chilean Judge Miguel Vásquez charged two Chilean officials, Pedro Barrientos and Hugo Sanchez, in the 1973, murder of Chilean folk singer Victor Jara; six others were charged as accomplices. Four of the eight took courses at the School of the Americas. Pedro Barrientos, the second-in-command of the National Stadium which was turned into a open-air prison following the September 11th US-sponsored coup, and Raúl Jofré took the same Officers' Orientation course in 1968; Edwin Dimter Bianchi took a Combat Arms Orientation course in 1970; and Jorge Smith Gumucio took a Combat Arms Orientation course in 1972. SOA graduate Pedro Barrientos currently lives in Deltona, a city southwest of Daytona Beach in Florida.
Victor Jara was one of the Pinochet regime's first victims. SOA graduates filled the ranks of the Chilean dictatorship's military and the feared intelligence unit, the DINA.
Victor Jara was a symbol of justice and progress in the Americas, and his voice encouraged millions to continue moving towards a just and fair society. Though his life was cut short by the brutal US-sponsored dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, his legacy lives on through the changes happening throughout Latin America.
From SOA Watch, we wish you a justice-filled and happy New Year and we look forward to continuing the struggle together!
In solidarity, SOA Watch
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 January 2013 00:20
SOA Watch's Year-End Fundraising Drive
2012 has been a year of victories for SOA Watch! Ecuador and Nicaragua have joined Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay in pulling their troops out of the SOA - but we need your support to continue our work in the new year. Join your compañeros and give generously to SOA Watch today: http://SOAW.org/donate
Toss the SOA Off the Cliff!
Action Alert: Contact Your Representative Today! Throw the SOA/WHINSEC Over the Fiscal Cliff!
Over 9,500 messages were sent to Congressional Representatives, Senators and to Deputy National Security Advisor Denis McDonough demanding that in these times of fiscal crisis, we put an end to militarized budgets, and cut the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC)! Added to that were the hundreds more postcards sent from the gates of Fort Benning to representatives and senators from 37 states!
Members of the SOA Watch Super PAC ("Pretty Amazing Compas") delivered copies of a letter signed by over 250 organizations to members of Congress urging them to consider pushing the SOA/WHINSEC over the looming "fiscal cliff".
Call Your Representative Today!
Please take 2 minutes right now to call your Representative (click here to find your Representative, or call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected) and urge them to toss the SOA/WHINSEC into the fiscal abyss. Use the sample script below as a guide:
"As you deliberate the budget, please choose to fund education, health, environmental safety, and care for our elderly over military spending. The SOA/ WHINSEC is synonymous with torture and repression for people across the Americas, and should be shut down without delay. Shift the millions of drug/military dollars targeted for Latin America to urgently needed programs here at home. Cut funding for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/ WHINSEC)"
(If you use Twitter, send a message about closing the SOA to #fiscalcliff !)
From November 16-18, over two thousand students, prison abolitionists,
teachers, nuns, immigrants, musicians, farmers, activists and workers
from across the Americas mobilized to the gates of Fort Benning, to once
more express our humanity and solidarity against the school of death
and destruction. This year, we were fortunate to have so many activists
from Latin America and the Caribbean who shared their stories with us
and walked with us. It was a true manifestation of the saying: "Somos
Una América! We are One America!"
We marched to the Stewart Detention center to protest unjust
immigration laws; we connected our issues during caucuses and workshops;
we remembered the names of the victims; and one of us took our
collective message over the fence. We left with the renewed knowledge
that our struggle did not begin or end at Fort Benning, but that we will
continue to build a just and peaceful world in our communities every
single day of the year!