Patrick Sudlow - 2010 Encuentro Local Updates Print

2010 Encuentro Local Updates

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA, USA

By PATRICK SUDLOW
SOA Watch Activist

My personal focus of resisting U.S. militarization in Latin America is with my work against the SOA. As probably one of the youngest persons attending this Encuentro, my goal has been to get more younger people involved with the movement against the SOA and U.S. militarization in Latin America. I have attended the SOA Watch protest/vigil the last four years, bringing a delegation from my university, the University of San Francisco (USF), along with me the last three years. Upon our return to USF, we work on educating the USF community about what we learned at the vigil, protest, and workshops. Fortunately, hosting events on my campus has been extremely rewarding and effective. Since our news is so bias, our USF SOA Watch chapter seeks to give the real news of what is going on in Latin America. Because of this, the students really appreciate these events, because it is a side that they have not seen. Also, we hold an annual SOA Watch Awareness Dinner before we attend the vigil/protest and we through events on campus that pertain to U.S. militarization as they come up throughout the year. For example, when the Honduras coup happened last year, we had many speakers come to the university to discuss the realities of the coup, because the information we were receiving in the United States was not the full truth. While it may not be directly impact U.S. militarization, I know that we are informing the citizens of the United States the implications of our government's roles in other countries. For me, it has allowed me to analyze media more critically and read news from sources that I know are not bias. Finally, in February of 2008, I lobbied in Washington D.C. for the closure of the SOA with SOA Watch.

During my second semester of my Sophomore year, I was accepted to take a course at USF, Liberation Theology of El Salvador, in which we traveled to El Salvador during our Spring Break. We learned about the Civil War that killed 80,000 lives, displaced many Salvadorans, and the liberation theology at the time of the war. Because of this, El Salvador is a focus of mine.

In June & July of 2009, I was lucky enough to be selected as one of six interns for our PAL-SOAW office in Barquisimeto, Venezuela with Lisa Sullivan. We set out to try and get the countries that are still sending troops to the SOA to withdraw their troops. June 28, 2009 changed this internship completely. The focus of our internship quickly changed to talking to Bertha Oliva of COFADEH in Honduras to get daily updates and then taking that information and turning it into a Press Release so that we could publish the real news of what was going on in Honduras to North America. As my part on this team, I researched the SOA graduates that were involved with the coup and found a handful of links. Since last year, Honduras has been a focus of mine.