Latin America Hopes that Obama Closes the School of the Americas
the context of Obama's visit to Brazil, Chile and El Salvador from March 19-23, the international movement SOA Watch calls for the closure
of the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
Cooperation (SOA / WHINSEC).
has to listen to us and he can still do something, for example, like closing the School of the Americas through an executive order, and that is what we expect from him," said Pablo Ruiz,
representative of SOA Watch.
The School of the Americas protest is held every November and calls for the closing of the notorious SOA. The SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers and police with US taxpayer money in order that they maintain governments in line with US interests. SOA graduates have been responsible for some of the most atrocious human rights violations in our Americas including the El Mazote massacre in El Salvador. Not as active as it was during the Cold War, the SOA is still the focus of the protest, however today the protest also serves as a rallying point and a place to network for many grassroots organizations struggling for social justice in our Americas. This short film, while focusing on the SOA, also features many of these organizations including The Beehive Design Collective, The Coalition for Immokalee Workers, the revolutionary hip hop group Rebel Diaz and many student activist organizations including students from the University of Western Ontario.
La protesta contral la Escuela de las Americas occure cada Noviembre en frente del base militar Ft. Benning en el estado de Georgia, Los Estados Unidos. La SOA (School of the Americas) es un base donde soldados y policia de gobiernos de Latino America estan entrenados en metados de guerra, interrogacion, inteligencia y mas. Alumnos de la Escuela han sido responsables por muchos de atrocidades cometido contra los publos de las Americas incluyendo el El Mazote Masacre en El Salvador. Porque la SOA no es tan activa como fue durante la Guerra Fria, la protesta hoy en dia sirve como un lugar donde multiples organizaciones pueden unir y compartir ideas. Este film breve muestra un poco de las organizaciones incluyendo el Beehive Design Collective, La Coalicion de Trabajadores de Immokalee, el grupo de hip hop revolucionario Rebel Diaz, y activistas estudiantiles incluyendo los de la Universidad de Ontario Oeste (UWO). Para aprender mas, visita www.soaw.org
Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 21:26
Order your box of the Spring 2011 issue of Presente today!
Sunday, 23 January 2011 00:00
Are you willing and able to order a box of Presente with 150 or 75 copies to spread the word in your community?
The Presente Activist Distributor Network is a testament to the grassroots power of the movement to close the SOA. As a grassroots movement without the backing of big foundations, the work of SOA Watch is being largely carried out and financed by volunteer activists and organizers across the Americas.
The ¡Presente! distributors are raising the $27 to cover the cost of printing and shipping and take responsibility for distributing the newspaper to friends, neighbors and strangers, at community centers, coffeehouses, universities, progressive bookstores and other places in their communities.
SOA Watch is grateful to all the ¡Presente! distributors and to everyone who made this issue possible. The bilingual and union printed Spring 2011 issue contains an interview with Argentinian anti-militarization activist Rina Bertaccinni, a report back from the SOA Watch November Vigil and lots of updates about the campaign to shut down the School of the Americas and to resist U.S. militarization. Presente also serves as a tool to mobilize people for the April Days of Action in Washington, DC. The cost per box of 150 copies (printing, shipping and handling in the U.S.) is $27, the cost of a box with 75 copies is $19.
Once again, the justice system's complicity with the abuses taught at the School of the Americas was exposed today at the trial of anti-militarism activists Nancy Smith and Christopher Spicer. Nancy, from New York, changed her plea to no contest and was immediately sentenced to 6 months in prison by Magistrate Judge Stephen Hyles. In the SOA Watch tradition of using the courts to put a spotlight on the SOA/WHINSEC, Nancy affirmed that she "felt a strong moral imperative" to carry out her nonviolent act of civil disobedience "on behalf of those who have suffered so terribly".
Christopher, from Illinois, plead not guilty but was declared guilty by Judge Hyles and sentenced likewise to 6 months. In his closing statement before sentencing, Christopher addressed the ongoing human rights abuses in Latin America carried out by graduates of the School of the Americas, and his need to confront the "paralysis of fear" to act that has gripped the country in recent times.