The Department of Justice filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of North Carolina today seeking the arrest and extradition of a School of the Americas graduate and former colonel in the Salvadoran army to face charges in Spain related to the 1989 University of Central America (UCA) massacre of sixteen year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and six Jesuit priests in El Salvador in 1989.
for immediate release
Washington, D.C- April 8, 2015
Hendrik Voss, SOA Watch 202-425-5128
On the morning of November 16, 1989, Salvadoran soldiers made their way into the Pastoral Center at the Central American University in San Salvador. They ordered five Jesuit priests to go outside and lie face down on the ground, where they were subsequently shot and killed. A sixth priest, the housekeeper, and her 16 year-old daughter were then murdered inside the residence. The Jesuits had been labeled “subversives” by the Salvadoran government for speaking out against the unjust socioeconomic conditions in El Salvador.
Of the twenty-six soldiers subsequently implicated in the murders of the Jesuit priests and women in El Salvador, nineteen had received training at the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), including Salvadoran Col. Orlando Inocente Montano. Graduates of the School of the Americas played a key role in the war in El Salvador. When the United Nations Truth Commission released its report on El Salvador in 1993, two thirds of the human rights abusers named in the report were graduates of the School of the Americas, including the perpetrators of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero; the killings of 4 North American churchwomen; the massacre of 900 civilians in El Mozote and more.
Human Rights Activists have long demanded that the United States cease the training and arming of repressive foreign militaries, and that the perpetrators of human rights abuses (including the US trainers and advisors) need to be held accountable.
SOA Watch organizer María Luisa Rosal states: "We welcome that the Justice Department is finally moving on extraditing Col. Orlando Inocente Montano to Spain, so that he can stand trial for his crimes. At the same time, we are calling for other human rights abusers, like Pedro Barrientos, the killer of Chilean folk musician Victor Jara, who are still living in the United States, to be brought to justice as well. The United States has actively endorsed and participated in violations of human rights throughout the Americas, as well as undermined democratic processes. The United States continues to train repressive foreign militaries at the SOA/ WHINSEC, who are engaging in human rights abuses in Honduras, Mexico and other places. For justice to prevail, we need to close the SOA/ WHINSEC and fundamentally change US foreign policy".
SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change U.S. foreign policy through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work. This November 20-22, thousands will converge at the gates of the SOA/ WHINSEC at Fort Benning, Georgia, to commemorate those who have been killed by graduates of the school, and demand the closure of the institution.
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.
For more information visit http://SOAW.org