|November 20-22, 2009, Fort Benning, Georgia: Mass Mobilization to Shut Down the School of the Americas|
for immediate release
The military coup led by SOA graduates in Honduras has once again exposed the destabilizing and deadly effects that the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) has on Latin America. Torture survivors and human rights activists from across the Americas, including Bertha Oliva, the founder of the Committee of the Family Members of the Disappeared (COFADEH) from Honduras and human rights defenders from Colombia will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia to participate in the mobilization.
The campaign to close the SOA/ WHINSEC is in a crucial phase right now. Despite promising comments from President Obama during his 2008 election campaign, the SOA/ WHINSEC is still in operation, the U.S. is pouring millions into failing "military solutions" to combat the drug problems in Mexico and the Pentagon is moving forward with plans to use seven Colombian military bases in Colombia for offensive U.S. military operations.
"It is up to us to hold those responsible accountable and to push for to closing of the School of the Americas and a change in US foreign policy" said Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch. "Too many have died and continue to suffer at the hands of graduates of this notorious institute."
In the fall of 2009, opponents of the SOA/ WHINSEC achieved a victory when a joint House and Senate conference committee agreed to include language in the FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill that requires the Pentagon to release names of the graduates of the SOA/ WHINSEC to the public. The Pentagon had classified the names after the continued involvement of SOA/ WHINSEC attendees in human rights abuses became public.
For more information about the November vigil to close the SOA/ WHINSEC, lead-up actions and a complete schedule of events, visit www.SOAW.org
5525 Illinois Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20011