For immediate release
November 23, 2013
Contact: Hendrik Voss, SOA Watch
Demanding Justice, Not Impunity in Largest Annual Anti-Militarization Convergence
Columbus, Georgia - This weekend, justice and peace activists from across the Americas converge on the gates of Fort Benning to demand the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). The protest falls on the very day SOA graduate-led repression threatens free and democratic elections in Honduras (November 24), where the LIBRE party is even now facing targeted assassinations.
November 23-24: Thousands Mobilize Against School of the Americas
Today, on Saturday, November 23 we rally at the gates of Fort Benning and lift up the voices of torture survivors and people who lost family members as a result of U.S.-supported military repression, along with partners from across the hemisphere who fight for justice.
Edward DuBose, former President of the Georgia Conference NAACP, is taking the stage to speak truth to power, along with Edith López Ovalle, member of H.I.J.O.S. Mexico, an organization of the children of those imprisoned, disappeared and assassinated in Latin America; and many other movement leaders from across the Americas, including Chile, Guatemala, El Salvador and Colombia. Headlining musicians include folk singer-songwriter Holly Near, intercultural youth empowerment & arts initiative Kuumba Lynx, Leah of the folk-soul revolutionaries Rising Appalachia and political hip-hop group Rebel Diaz.
“The SOA is a stark example of the anti-democratic influence the U.S. continues to exert on Latin American countries, which has resulted in thousands of needless deaths,” said Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of the nonviolent resistance group SOA Watch.
Tomorrow, on Sunday, November 24, thousands will participate in a massive solemn funeral procession to the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to commemorate all the victims of U.S. militarism.
The SOA/WHINSEC is a U.S. taxpayer-funded military training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. The school made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. At least 11 Latin American dictators have attended the SOA, and leaders of infamous Central American death squads are among its graduates. SOA graduates are currently involved in the repression campaign against Honduran social movements, which started in 2009, following the SOA graduate-led military coup.
For more information, including a schedule of events, the lineup of speakers and musicians etc. visit http://SOAW.org/november