We have a lot of work ahead of us. The SOA/WHINSEC is still in operation, training Latin American soldiers and police to protect U.S. and elite economic interests by targeting their own people.
But where would we be if we gave up hope? If you were at the 2007 Vigil you noticed that the energy there was stronger than ever. Hundreds of people gathered in solidarity vigils throughout the Americas, like that in Santiago, Chile, with Pablo Ruiz, one of the leaders of SOA Watch Latinoamericana, and in Arizona in front of Fort Huachuca, the U.S. Army’s Intelligence Center that developed the torture manuals later used at the SOA. In January, a new chapter of SOA Watch in Los Angeles brought together hundreds of supporters for their kick-off vigil . These successes shine a hopeful light for all of us.
We can change U.S. policy and the course of history – if you act in your community! Get together with your neighbors and share one of the films about the SOA. Come to the strategy meeting and stay for the lobby days. Join the grassroots fasts in April. Build grassroots power and hold Congress accountable in the 2008 elections !
Peruse this issue of ¡Presente! for inspiration: Lesley Gill, Hector Aristizábal and others share insight and incisive articles. César Maxit pulled together powerful elements of what we’re up against in the cover image. Terri Lloyd highlights the struggles of women against militarization in her art. Anabel Torres and Alberto Villalba provided translations, and Christy Pardew edited this issue.
We are as strong as our connections and our willingness to challenge one another to step up our resistance. Engage in nonviolent direct action! Become an activist distributor and call out ¡Presente! in your community. Together, we will win!
|Eric J. Garcia|