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Stewart Detention Center Vigil Report Back PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Saturday, 19 November 2011 03:37

stewart4-guzmans.gifFriday morning 270 activists for immigrant justice marched from the Stewart County Courthouse to the Stewart Detention Center, the largest privately owned detention center in the United States. Gathered in the center square of Lumpkin, GA, the activists heard from community organizers and faith leaders from across the state, who urged the crowd to stand strong in their fight to close the Detention Center.

Xochitl Bervera of the Georgia Latino Alliance for Human Rights and veteran civil rights organizer Theresa El-Amin from the Southern Anti-Racism Network spoke of Black and Brown unity, reminding the crowd that just as our African American ancestors were enslaved and forced to work to produce our food, our immigrant brothers and sisters are mistreated and exploited in fields and factories today.

Following the speeches, the activists marched a mile and half to the Detention Center, carrying with them a clothesline hung with over 900 orange and blue shirts, each bearing the name of an immigrant from Dalton, GA, who had been detained or deported within the last year. At the entrance to the Detention Center, the crowd regrouped to hear a song sung by family members of detained undocumented, lead by America Gruner of Dalton, GA.

Afterward, the recently reunited Guzman family spoke of their struggle to free Pedro Guzman, an immigrant who spent 20 months in the Stewart Detention Center before being released in May. Pedro and his wife Emily Guzman expressed their thanks to the movement that supported them, and vowed to continue their fight for human rights for all immigrants.

chris-spicer-stewart.jpgMoments later, the crowd began singing “We shall overcome” while activist Chris Spicer from Chicago, IL, crossed the police barricade in an act of civil disobedience in solidarity with the immigrants detained within the prison walls. Chris, who was recently released from serving a six-month sentence for crossing the line at the 2010 Vigil to Close the School of the Americas, was brought before Judge Wayne Ammons, who set the bond for this criminal trespass charge exorbitantly high at $5000. Responding to news that detainees were fasting to commemorate this fifth annual vigil at the gates of the Stewart facility, Chris announced that he too would be fasting, "to purify this unjust system. The SOA and inhumane immigration policies are part of the same racist system of violence and domination."

Georgia Detention Watch organizer Anton Flores, from the Alterna Community, was wrongfully arrested at the close of the action, after media and legal observers had left. Despite video evidence proving Anton did not trespass, the police refused to stop harassing him, and only after the evidence was presented to Judge Ammons were his charges dismissed.

Here are some beautiful photos of the event taken by Dean Rogers of Stone-Rogers Photography:

Last Updated on Friday, 25 May 2012 14:31
Four of 6 Generals Tied to the 2009 Honduran Coup Were Trained at the SOA PDF Print E-mail

Written by SOA Watch

The Honduran Supreme Court voted 12-3 on October 20, 2011, to reject abuse of authority charges against now-retired Generals Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, Luis Prince Suazo, Venancio Cervantes, Miguel Garcia, Juan Pablo Rodriguez and Carlos Cuellar. The charges stem from the 2009 coup in which the democratically-elected president, Manuel Zelaya, was overthrown and flown to Costa Rica.

As a result of the case, SOA Watch has been able to determine that of these six generals officially linked to the orchestration of the coup, 4 were trained at the notorious School of the Americas. These are Generals Romeo Vásquez Velásquez, Luis Prince Suazo, Miguel Angel García and Carlos Cuellar.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 September 2012 14:08
Is It Time to Shutter the Americas "Coup Academy"? PDF Print E-mail

TIME Magazine, October 17, 2011

Few of the hemisphere's training centers can boast as many ex-leaders and government strongmen among its graduates. For many schools, this would no doubt be an excellent marketing pitch. Not so for the School of the Americas (SOA). None of its famous alumni reached power by way of the voting booth. Some are even behind bars now, either convicted or facing prosecution in their respective countries for abuse of power.

La versión en español se encuentra aquí: http://www.americaeconomia.com/revista/escuela-sin-rock

También, véase éste artículo de BBC Mundo acerca del cierre de la Escuela de las Américas: http://www.soaw.org/category-table/3802-bbc-mundo-soa

En 1946, Estados Unidos puso en marcha una escuela para entrenar a militares latinoamericanos. Hace años que sectores críticos denuncian que la institución forma a muchos de los violadores de derechos humanos del sur del continente. Aprovechando la crisis económica, han lanzado una campaña en el Congreso para pedir su cierre.
Last Updated on Thursday, 20 October 2011 15:18
Report Back from SOA Watch Delegation to Haiti PDF Print E-mail
Written by Becca Polk   
Thursday, 13 October 2011 16:14

ONE WORLD by Daniel Tillias

This is a call of unity and solidarity to the people all over the earth. It reminds us how the misery of a country like Haiti should bring pain in heart of people in Japan as joyfullness of France should rejoice the soul of Brazil.

There is only one world
Never it has been two
This is why as Haiti is mine
It is also everyone’s

The same sun shining in Africa
Light the flower of Alaska
The morning star in Hinche
Bright the morning in China

In Havana as in Lascahobas
Children laugh and smile the same
When parents remember to take time
Sharing wonderful and magic moments

The world is not huge
The world is small
There is no alien soil
We all belong to the same globe

All harm in the pacific ocean
Will bring pain in the Miragoane lake
But all trees planted in Savane desole
Will send life to the four corners of the world

From October 1-7, 2011, SOA WATCH led a human rights delegation to Haiti with a focus on gaining firsthand knowledge of the effects of a 7-year military occupation by 13,000 troops and police of MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti), while also looking at concrete expressions of U.S. foreign policy towards Haiti. In addition, the delegation of 17 activists from around the U.S. visited numerous positive initiatives organized and carried out by Haitians that promote the dignity and sovereignty of their nation.

MINUSTAH is now in its seventh year, having replaced a U.S. military force that had occupied Haiti in the wake of the illegal coup d’etat that ousted the democratically elected government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 2004. Classified U.S. State Department cables, recently made public by Wikileaks, have revealed that the U.S. government places a strong strategic importance on MINUSTAH’s ongoing presence in Haiti, and in particular its inclusion of troops from several Latin American governments – in part because the Mission represents a regional initiative that excludes Venezuela, yet involves several left-leaning Latin American countries.

“We began our trip with the knowledge that MINUSTAH is controlled by the U.S. government and serves the U.S. government’s interests,” Dan Beeton of the Center for Economic and Policy Research said. “Since being here, we’ve heard numerous complaints about a wide array of abuses by MINUSTAH troops. We’ve also heard and seen little evidence of MINUSTAH’s positive contributions during Haiti’s greatest hour of need, and that makes us doubt the rationale for a continued MINUSTAH presence.”

For more infromation on MINUSTAH see: Haitians to the U.N.: Please Leave and 10 Reasons Why the UN Occupation of Haiti Must End

“School of the Americas Watch has opposed military intervention for decades, and we are seeing connections between that and what international forces have done in Latin America,” Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of School of the Americas Watch said. “We see the issue of militarization clearly: you cannot bring democracy through the barrel of a gun.”

See Standing Against Militarism and Violence: From Haiti to Fort Benning by Father Roy Bourgeois

it's an occupation force that doesn't help the people,

they terrorize the people in the poor neighborhoods,

they say they are here to help the people of Haiti who are here in misery,

and their sole objective is to support the multinationals

and support the bourgeois in Haiti.”

—Representative from the Grassroots Coalition Against MINUSTAH

More reports from delegates:

Report from Haiti by Bill Quigley a law professor and human rights lawyer at Loyola University New Orleans and with the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Haiti-Ayiti by Lisa Sullivan, SOA Watch Latin American Coordinator

Reflections Following a Delegation: How MINUSTAH Hurts Haiti by Becca Polk, published in "This Week in Haiti", the English section of HAITI LIBERTE newsweekly.

Violence Against Women in Haiti by Ken Jones

More pictures and reflections can be found here!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 07 December 2011 21:30
Victory! Court Dismisses Charges Against the SOA Watch "White House 15" PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 13 September 2011 14:49

SOAW 15 Trial

The SOA Watch movement claimed a victory yesterday, September 12, 2011, in its long struggle to close the SOA/WHINSEC and change the culture of militarization.

On April 10, 27 human rights activists lay down on the sidewalk in front of the White House, demanding that President Obama close the SOA/WHINSEC by executive order.  The SOA has left a long and bloody trail through the Americas, as graduates of the school have terrorized, massacred, disappeared and tortured thousands of people, as they protect big corporations and failed economic models.  Over many years of grassroots education, direct action and lobbying in Congress, the SOA Watch movement has demanded a shift from oppressive US foreign policy to respect for self-determination and dignity.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 June 2012 21:28
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