|Legislative Update December 2012|
Representative James McGovern (MA) reintroduced the Latin America Military Training Review Act as HR 3368 on November 4, 2011 along with 21 other original co-sponsors. This legislation would suspend operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC, investigate torture manuals and human rights abuses associated with the school, and conduct an assessment of military training in Latin America.
Across the country, grassroots activists are working to add their
Member of Congress as a cosponsor, or supporter, of this bill. Has your
Representative cosponsored this bill? Check this list of HR 3368 cosponsors to find out.
What You Can Do
1. Set up a meeting with your Representative in Washington, DC. SOA Watch activists are lobbying hard to get Members of the House of Representatives to co-sponsor HR 3368, The Latin America Military Training Review Act. This bill would suspend operations and investigate practices at the school. We need a strong showing in order to keep the issue of the SOA/WHINSEC and militarization on the national agenda. Your phone calls and meetings with your Representative will be a HUGE boost for the movement, and you get the chance to really make your voice heard!
Not sure who is your Representative?, you can find out here.) This site gives the phone number of your Representative's Washington DC office. You can go directly to your Represenative's website to find district office information as well. You can also call the Capitol Switchboard, 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative.
Where do they stand? Check to see if your Representative signed the letter to President Obama or has supported SOA Watch in the past. See list of Congressional signatories and cosponsors of HR2567 in the 111th Congress.
(You can also learn more about your Representative's record on this issue by seeing if s/he was one of 69 Representatives to sign a letter to President Obama asking him to close the SOA or one of 103 Representatives who signed on to HR 2567 in the 111th Congress)
*You can find more information about your Representative's voting record, official positions and more at sites such as Project Vote Smart.
2. Set up a meeting with your Representative in the district office. The House takes regular recesses where Representatives work in their home districts. Put together a delegation of students, workers, community leaders, and other constituents and set up a meeting. It is often easier to get a meeting with the actual Representative, rather than an aide, in the district office than it is in DC.
Click here for tips on setting up a meeting with your Representative. There is always strength in numbers! Get your friends, family and community leaders to join you.
4. Include a 5 Minute Lobby Action at every event. During your meetings and events, take a few minutes to take action. Provide postcards or paper and envelopes, pens, and the name(s) of the Representative(s) in your area. Ask people present to sign and address the postcards or to write a brief letter. Then mail or deliver them to your Congressperson. (The letter does not have to be long, one or two sentences is enough. For example, I am writing to urge you to co-sponsor HR 3368, the Latin America Military Training Review Act. This legislation would suspend operations at the School of the Americas, renamed WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). *Make sure to include your address with zip code so the Representative knows you are a constituent.
5. Call or write your Representative and ask them to cosponsor HR 3368. (If they are a co-sponsor, call to say thank you!) You can contact the DC office of your Representative by calling the Capitol Hill Switchboard toll free at 1-800-473-6711, (or 202-224-3121). You can also look up your Representative's contact information on the House of Representatives website. Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative aide. Here is a suggested message for you to convey:
Other tactics include:
- asking for a meeting with your Representative or an Aide;
Also, learn about how SOA Watch is taking the US Government to court, then tell your Rep how they can support transparency and democracy in the Americas by closing the SOA/WHINSEC!
Read more here.
On August 16, 2011 Sixty-nine Members of the House of Representatives, headed by Congressman Jim McGovern and Congressman John Lewis, sent a letter to President Obama asking him to issue an executive order to close the SOA/WHINSEC. (See a list of Congressional signatories and view a copy of the letter here) This is one of many efforts that SOA Watch has employed to close the training school that has so many links to human rights violations across the hemisphere, and one of many efforts to curtail oppressive U.S. foreign policy in the Americas. We will also deliver over resolutions and statements in support of closing the school from labor, religious, and academic organizations along with over 10,000 signatures from citizens across the country in support of the closing of the SOA/WHINSEC, and demand that the president shut the school down!
Call the White House to urge President Obama to respond to the August 2011 Congressional letter by closing the SOA/WHINSEC.
You can reach President Obama's office at: (202) 456-1111
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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