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#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:

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
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
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
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