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Kate Speltz - 2010 Encuentro Local Updates PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rose Espinola   
Friday, 16 July 2010 20:56

2010 Encuentro Local Updates

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, USA

By KATE SPELTZ
SOA Watch Activist


For both myself and our local SOAW committee there is a focus on closing the SOA - for itself, and as a symbol of all other sites and ways of US military education and intervention throughout Latin America.  This is coupled with other organizations and initiatives and allied foci.  Representatives of CISPES (Citizens in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador), Amnesty International, Veterans for Peace, and the Fellowship of Reconciliation have all participated in our committee and our efforts.  The organizations each have their own focus where they take the lead, and support one another in implementation.

We have tried a mix of approaches:

  • Lobbied legislators - with petitions, letter writing campaigns, visits to their offices.
  • Had educational forums for targeted audiences (youth, faith communities, college students)
  • Brought in speakers
  • Had media coverage (print and radio)
  • Crossed the line at Ft. Benning (multiple members of our committee - with one serving a prison sentence for crossing the line)
  • Shown movies (annually as part of a "meaningful movies" series)
  • Fasted publically
  • Performed street theater
  • Gone on delegations (to El Salvador
  • Had "send-off" gatherings to support those travelling cross-country to the protest at Ft. Benning
  • Raised money to support PAL

Most and Least Effective

Most:  Raising funds for PAL - resulting in the work of the project in Latin America, the delegations, some countries pulling out their "students" and the encuentro itself

Least:  Harder to identify; but in the short term / on the face of it, lobbying legislators has been the least effective overall [once we were successful in bringing a legislator on board; otherwise, while ours are generally supportive they don't show leadership / moral courage]

How have these efforts impacted US militarization in Latin America?

Our efforts have not had as much impact as we would wish, but they have done some small things.  They have brought the issue of US militarization in Latin America more into the public eye in the U.S. - making the general public more aware that there is an issue of U.S. militarization in Latin America(it's always amazing how many people "don't know"), providing those who are aware with information, and letting the military know that we are watching.  They have let our electeds know what we want of them, and given them some courage to at least vote with us (if not show leadership).

How have the efforts changed you?

These efforts have kept me in touch with what really matters in the world, and been one way for me to speak truth to power.  I am continually inspired by the commitment of others who are involved in the various movements - they/you are examples for me and give me hope.  I continue to be involved in order to really change the world into the more peaceful and just place that I believe it can be.


Last Updated on Friday, 16 July 2010 21:32
 

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