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Encuentro of the Americas:

Resisting Militarization and Promoting a Culture of Peace

In the shadow of Venezuela´s emerald green Andes mountains, activists from 19 countries of the Americas gathered in June to share experiences and strategies in resisting militarization and promoting a culture of peace.

Among them were those who had witnessed the disappearance of their family members at the hands of the SOA as well as an SOA graduate now committed to the closing of the school. They were joined by those who had gone to jail in the U.S. to protest the SOA, and those who had been jailed and tortured in Latin America by SOA graduates. The group, spanning 50 years of age and thousands of miles of distance, was united in their commitment to work together bring peace to "Una Sola America".

SOA Watch activists from Toronto to Florida, and California to Maine shared their multiple efforts to bring the doors of the SOA to a close. Their partners from the South brought awareness of U.S. militarization in their countries, such as 7 military bases occupied by the U.S. in Colombia, an SOA-engineered repressive regime in Honduras, U.S. troops and ships headed to Costa Rica, the military occupation of Haiti and the militarization of the U.S.-Mexico border, among other concerns. The Southern partners expressed their gratitude for the efforts of their northern partners in trying to close the SOA, but encouraged them to broaden their focus to these new expressions of the SOA that pose even greater threats to their people.


On the final evening of the gathering, in the cool mountain air, participants gathered around a map of "America" from Alaska to Patagonia, with no borders delineated. At the center was a clay pot containing a mixture of the soil brought from 19 lands. One by one the participants passed some of the mixed soil to one another to take back with them, saying, "Somos una Sola America" (We are one America). Hours earlier, ten agreements had been reached, such as the organization of simultaneous actions throughout the Americas in coordination with the November vigil. However, it was clear that even more than written agreements, it was the connections and the vision of being Una Sola America that would truly move peace forward in the continent. As one participant said on the last evening, "this Encuentro has not ended. It has just begun."

Agreements from the First “Encuentro of the Americas: Resisting Militarization and Promoting a Culture of Peace”. click here

See World Press for more information in spanish


Videos about Encuentro

1. Bienvenida al Encuentro

El Padre Roy Bourgeois, fundador del movimiento de Observadorxs de la Escuela de las Américas, da la bienvenida al histórico Encuentro Entre los Pueblos de América: Resistiendo la Militarización y Promoviendo una Cultura de Paz.

Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of the SOA Watch Movement, gives a welcome message to the historic Encuentro of the Américas: Resisiting Militarization and Promoting a Culture of Peace.

2. Encuentro entre Los Pueblos de América: Contra la Presencia Militar Imperialista

Encuentro entre los Pueblos de América: Resistiendo la Militarización y promoviendo una Cultura de Paz. Entre los días 21 y 25 de junio se realizará en Sanare, Venezuela, un encuentro de activistas del Sur, Centro y Norte América para discutir los problemas que ha originado el militarismo y la intervención de Estados Unidos en América Latina. La actividad, convocada por la organización estadounidense School of the Americas Watch (SOAW, que en español significa Observadores de la Escuela de las Américas) "busca aportar ideas, iniciativas y nuevos compromisos para cerrar la Escuela de las Américas como también para crear un movimiento Sur-Norte contra la militarización de EE.UU. en toda América Latina"

3. Encuentro entre los Pueblos, de Sur a Norte - (Rep. Dominicana)

El Padre Acosta, representante dominicano en el Encuentro entre los Pueblos de América, proveniente de la organización "Casa del Caribe", habla de la ruptura de barreras continentales que significó el Encuentro.

Father Acosta, representative from the Dominican Republic at the Encuentro of the Americas, from the organization "Casa del Caribe", talks about how this Encuentro helped erase the continental barriers that separate North and South.

3. Militarización en Haití - (Jerome Lacoste)

Jerome Lacoste, profesor en la Universidad de Ciencias Humanas de Haití y representante por ese país en el Encuentro entre los Pueblos de América, comenta sobre la situación militar después de los catastróficos terremotos.

Jerome Lacoste, professor at the University of Human Sciences in Haiti and representative of that country at the Encuentro of the Americas, comments on the situation of militarism after the earthquakes.


Radio interview about the Encuentro

Click here to listen to a radio interview about the Encuentro of the Americas by Carmen Andrea Rivera of KPFA's La Raza Chronicles with the Encuentro participants John Lindsay-Poland and Theresa Cameranesi.

Download the mp3 file:
SOAW.org/docs/encuentro.mp3


The following people participated in the Encuentro:
Click on the country names for country summaries that were presented by participants during the Encuentro.

Argentina - Rina Bertaccinni
Movimiento por la Paz, la Soberanía y la Solidaridad entre los Pueblos, Mopassol

Argentina - Gabriela Uassouf
SOAW Latin America office Summer intern, Encuentro Planning team

Bolivia - Zulema Callejas
Instituto de Terapia e Investigación sobre las secuelas de la Tortura y Violencia Estatal"

Colombia - Pablo Cala
Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz

Colombia - Eduardo Carreño
Colectivo de Abogados "José Alvear Restrepo"

Colombia - Enrique Daza
Alianza Social Continental
Red Colombiana de Acción frente al Libre Comercio

Costa Rica - Gerardo Brenes Montoya
Centro de Amigos por la Paz

Chile - Alicia Lira Matus
Observadores por el Cierre de la Escuela de las Américas

Chile - Pablo Ruiz
Journalist, SOA Watch Latin America Communications Coordinator

Ecuador - Luis Ángel Saavedra
INREDH Fundación Regional de Asesoría en Derechos Humanos

El Salvador - Cristy Ayala
Centro de Intercambio y Solidaridad - CIS

Guatemala - Wendy Méndez
Colectivo HIJOS

Haití - Jerome Paul Eddy Lacoste
Director del Departamento de Ciencias Sociales de la Universidad de Ciencias Humanas

Honduras - Ninoska Benítez
Comité de Familiares Detenidos y Desaparecidos en Honduras COFADEH

Honduras - Alejandro Ramirez
SOA Watch Latin America Office Summer intern

Honduras - Jimena Paz
SOAW Latin America Office Summer intern

Republica Dominicana - Rev. Julio Acosta
Sacerdote Diocesano

México - David Barrios
Observatorio Latinoamericano de Geopolítica de la UNAM.

Nicaragua - William Rodríguez
Movimiento Social Nicaragüense "Otro Mundo... es Posible"

Paraguay- Vidal Acevedo
Servicio Paz y Justicia-Paraguay (Serpaj-Paraguay)

Perú - Guillermo Burneo
Mesa por la Paz, la Desmilitarización y Solidaridad con los Pueblos

Uruguay - Efraín Olivera Lerena
Servicio Paz y Justicia en América Latina (Serpaj-AL)

Venezuela - Eugenia Jenny Russián Soleé
Fundación Latinoamericana Por Los Derechos Humanos y El Desarrollo Social (FUNDALATIN)

Venezuela - Lisa Sullivan
Latin America Coordinator SOA Watch

Venezuela - Maia Rodriguez
SOA Watch Latin America Office summer intern

Canada - Juan Diego Castro
SOA Watch activist, Ontario, Canada

United States - Roy Bourgeois, M. M.,
Maryknoll priest, founder of SOA Watch

United States - Mary Anne Perrone
Encuentro Planning Team

United States - Laura Slattery
Encuentro Planning team/SOA Watch Activist, Oakland, CA

United States - Robert Nixon
Encuentro Planning team/SOA Watch Activist, Oakland, CA

United States - Mara Bard
Encuentro Planning team/SOA Watch Activist, Long Island, NY

United States - Theresa Cameranesi
SOA Watch Council, San Francisco, CA

United States - John Lindsay-Poland
Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Oakland, CA

United States - Kent Spriggs
SOA Watch activist, Florida

United States - Dale Sorensen
Director Marin Task Force on the Americas, Marin Co, CA

United States - Kate Speltz
SOA Watch activist, Seattle, WA

United States - Patrick Sudlow
SOA Watch activist, San Francisco, CA                     

United States - William Whitney
SOA Watch activist, Maine

United States - Cheryl Ann Irving
SOA Watch activist, Ohio

United States - Colleen Kattau
SOA Watch activist, New York

United States - Chris Knestrick
Christian Peacemaking Teams

United States - Erin Cox
8th Day Center, Chicago, IL

United States - Enzo Bard
SOA Watch actvist, Long Island, NY

United States - Rose Espinola
SOA Watch Latin America Office summer intern

United States - Joe Hiller
SOA Watch Latin America Office summer intern

 

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