|SOA Grad. García linked to Killings|
for immediate release
April 15, 2014
Contact: Owen Silverman Andrews
SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS GRADUATE Gen. José Guillermo García LINKED BY U.S.
IMMIGRATION JUDGE TO BRUTAL CRIMES DURING EL SALVADOR'S CIVIL WAR
Former Salvadoran Defense Minister (1979-83) Gen. José Guillermo García
was directly linked to numerous human rights abuses, according to a
66-page decision (http://nyti.ms/1kXDLrD) on Removal Proceedings by Judge
Michael C. Horn of U.S. Immigration Court in Miami, Florida. Judge Horn
ruled that García "assisted or otherwise participated" in at least 11
violent crimes, including his complicity in the assassination of
Archbishop Óscar Romero and the slaughter of more than 800 civilians in
the El Mozote Massacre of 1981. His deportation is subject to appeal.
García completed a Counterinsurgency Course at the U.S. Army School of the
Americas (SOA, renamed WHINSEC in 2001), a training facility for Latin
American soldiers, in 1962. During the 1980-1992 Civil War in El Salvador,
the U.S. government trained, funded, and equipped the Salvadoran military,
responsible for the overwhelming majority of human rights abuses during
this period. This period correlates directly to a surge in Salvadoran
troops trained at the SOA, with a total of 5,305 between 1980 and 1992. In
1982 and 1989, more than half of all Latin American soldiers trained at
the SOA were Salvadoran. No U.S. officials have ever been charged with
assisting or otherwise participating in those crimes.
In 2002, García and Gen. Carlos Eugenio Vides Casanova (also a SOA-grad)
were sentenced to pay $54.6 million to Salvadoran torture survivors and
their families under the Torture Victims Protection Act. At the time,
their lawyer Kurt Klaus Jr. said, "In the war against communism, they did
what the United States government wanted them to do and paid them to do."
The most recent ruling by Judge Horn was issued February 26, 2014, but
only came to light due to a Freedom of Information Act request made by the
New York Times, which broke the story April 11, 2014.
SOA Watch has recently spearheaded a grassroots campaign calling on the
U.S. Department of Justice to extradite another SOA-graduate, Pedro
Barrientos, to Chile. A Chilean Judge has called for his extradition to
stand trial for the murder of folk musician Víctor Jara in 1973.
SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the
SOA/WHINSEC through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent
protest, as well as media and legislative work.
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