Militarization is bad for Latin America and bad for the United States:
Support H.R. 1232, the Stop Miliarizing Law Enforcment Act - the first domestic legislation that SOA Watch has officially endorsed.
SOA Watch has long opposed U.S.-supported militarization in Latin America, due to its proven correlation with increased human rights violations by Latin American armies and police forces. The frightening face of domestic U.S. militarization in response to protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other places has also proven that we in the U.S. are also at risk of brutal, heavy-handed, and intrusive "policing" that stifles dissent and erodes other fundamental human and civil rights.
We have for the first time officially supported and lobbied for domestic legislation in the last few months, including the Spring Days of Action: HR 1232, The Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, sponsored by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) would severely limit the types of equipment the Pentagon could transfer to local police under the "1033" Program, preventing transfers of high-caliber weapons, armored military vehicles, weaponized drones, long-range acoustic devices, grenade launchers, and grenades or similar explosives in most cases.
President Obama recently announced an Executive Action limiting some types of Pentagon transfers to local police, but it is not enough. In fact, we now have even more momentum to keep pushing for deeper protections against further domestic militarization.
Weapons manufacturers, the Pentagon, and irresponsible police departments and others that are militarizing the U.S. need to know that we are going to step up the fight on this fundamental issue through research, education, organizing, grassroots lobbying, and other methods. We must do so quickly to avoid the plight of so many Latin Americans - having to deal with military or militarized police, and the fear that it instills, on a regular basis.ORDER a set of Advocacy Postcards in support of HR 1232, The Stop Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act.
As justice and peace activists, and specifically anti-militarization activists working to close down the SOA/WHINSEC, we have a duty to encourage our representatives to choose the right path. An anti-militarization struggle, in our times, will NEVER be easy, but since we know that our actions today will lead to gains tomorrow, we must persevere and work on multiple fronts. Our lobbying efforts should be interconnected with our mass mobilizing efforts, our research efforts, and efforts from Latin America to fight imperialism and intervention.
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