“Que callen las armas, que hablen las mujeres y los pueblos en defensa de la vida y la soberanía”
“May the guns fall silent, may women and the people speak in defense of life and sovereignty”
We are three young Latin American women, or “Activantes” of the School of the Americas Watch movement, who are asking for your help in bringing our voices to the Women and People’s Summit of the Americas against Militarization. Last October a military agreement was signed, allowing the U.S. to occupy seven Colombian bases and use all Colombia territory to complete missions. From one base alone, Palanquero, nearly half of the continent can be covered by a military plane without refueling. As young women from Honduras, Venezuela and Argentina we want to join our sisters from Colombia and other countries of the Americas to say: “Our bodies are our home, our home is our territory. We will not give away the keys”
Six young women and men from different backgrounds, cultures, language, customs and habits, gathered in Venezuela to help organize and carry out the first Encuentro of the Americas: Resisting Militarization, Promoting a Culture of Peace. The Encuentro brought together the presence of activists from 19 countries of the Americas. Opening a new door to a new revitalizing moment for the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) movement, in which SOAW could truly become a South-North movement of the Americas. However, the Encuentro not only brought a new set of ideas for the SOAW movement, but it opened many doors for the six young interns, who decided to refer to themselves not as interns, but as “Activantes”.
The word “Activante” came from the passive voice of the Spanish word pasante. Not wanting to refer to our participation and experience at the Encuentro and with the SOAW movement as passive, but as something active, proactive, as part of a movement that is moving forward, the word “Activante” came around. “Activantes” do not just sit and wait to be told what needs to be done, we dream and reach for what has not been touched. “Activantes” is the voice of young men and women of the Americas committed to promoting peace and resisting militarization across the globe. We stand not alone, and it is for this exact reason that it is crucial that we keep the idea of “Activantes” alive, empowering young women and men.
Three of the “Activantes” Jimena, Maia and Gabi came together from three different countries in Latin America, Honduras, Venezuela and Argentina. Before having met each other, the most striking visual similarity among us was our abundant set of curls. However, during our experience of working and living with all the “Activantes”, we came to share our vision as young women in the peace and social justice movement and living in a patriarchal society. We came together from different situations, coups, repression, violence, but clear on the idea of dedicating our time to the resistance movement, rather than focusing on the negative to put our energy on something that will give life.
The Women and People Summit began after a signed agreement between Colombia and the United States in 2009, allowing seven U.S military bases in Colombia’s border with Venezuela. This agreement presents a threat to the security and relationship between Venezuela and Colombia and even more than that it poses a threat of the untold interest of the United States.
One of the agreements that came out of the Encuentro was to support of the Women and Peoples Summit as a form of resistance to militarization. To support the Women and People’s Summit by organizing simultaneous actions in their respective countries and spread the word of the military bases in Colombia and its impact on women.
We renounce all forms of militarization foreign or domestic for it has cost the lives of thousands men, women and children, mistreated Mother Nature, and left broken families. History has shown that the presence of military bases promotes prostitution, the displacement of people away from their homes, especially women and children, violence and the presence of foreign troops terrorizing the people.
Our participation at the Women and People’s Summit we see as important for sharing the agreements and strategies of resistance product of the Encuentro, but more importantly because we see the future of the SOAW movement expanding from the School of the Americas to all forms of militarization and how it violates our lives, our bodies. We see the movement empowering young people, like it is empowering us.
We take with us to Colombia the outcome of the Encuentro, the importance of it and the new potential that SOAW has. As women, we take with us our feminine pride, our passion, our enthusiasm and energy to help, learn and be part of this movement as young women of the Americas. Most importantly share the message “Somos Una sola America” with our sisters and brothers.
We will compile all the information gathered at the Women and People’s Summit, written and video documentation; organize dialogues and workshops on the resistance movements in Latin America.
The total cost of the trip is $2,500. We have received this far $1,100. We are humbly asking from people who see the potential in the visions and dreams of “Activantes”, a peaceful movement that empowers young women and men resisting militarization, to give whatever they can will be received with open arms.
For more information on the Women and People’s Summit please go to: