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Call the White House and Tell Obama to Close the SOA PDF Print E-mail

On Tuesday, August 16th, sixty-nine members of congress officially requested that President Barack Obama sign an executive order shutting down the SOA/WHINSEC. Join the chorus by calling President Obama and telling him that you support the closure of this dangerous and unaccountable institution. Here is a short sample call script to help you get your message across.Call the White House - Tell President Obama to Close the SOA

The script will cover some of the major points, but as always, we encourage you to craft your own message.

A Possible Call to Obama Could Look Like This:

"I am calling to inform President Obama about the letter signed by 69 members of congress asking him to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly known as the School of the Americas). The existence of WHINSEC is part of a massive failure in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. It is a symbol of oppression and U.S. domination for most Latin Americans and should be shut down without delay.

I urge you to seriously consider the request by the members of congress to shut down the school, thus saving the United States $180 million over the next decade. Closing the school would also send the message to the people of Latin America and your own citizens that you value the sovereignty and human rights of all of the peoples of the Americas.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to me and consider my appeal. I hope you make the right decision."

You can reach Pres. Obama's office at: (202) 456-1111

The Comment line is open between 9 AM and 5 PM ET.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 16:11
 
Update: Nine Former Salvadoran Soldiers Arrested In Connection with 1989 Massacre of Elba and Celina Ramos and Six Jesuit Priests; Orlando Montano Arrested in US PDF Print E-mail
Written by David Nash   
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 20:40

On Monday, August 8th, 9 former soldiers turned themselves in after learning about a recent indictment issued in a Spanish court for their roles in the 1989 massacre of 6 Jesuit priests as well as Elba Ramos and her 14-year-old daughter, Celina. They are currently awaiting a decision by the Supreme Court of El Salvador on whether to extradite them. The indictment was issued under Spain's universal jurisdiction law, which holds that the gravest of crimes can be tried anywhere.

Update: On Tuesday, August 23, Inocente Orlando Montano, a former colonel in the Salvadoran Army, was arrested in Massachussetts.  Montano was named in a 1993 UN Commission as participating in the planning of the murders at the University of Central America. He is a graduate of the School of the Americas, and has been residing in the United States since leaving El Salvador.

Apart from the gruesome and cruel nature of the massacre, it is notable for the large number of SOA graduates who were involved in its planning, execution, and cover-up. A total of 20 soldiers and government officials were targetted by the indictment, and as of now nine are still at large (one of the participants died after the indictment was issued).

This is a landmark moment in the search for justice for the victims of this massacre. Although more than 20 years have passed since the tragic murder of these 8 innocents, the indictment and arrest show that there are still people who will fight for the memory and dignity of the victims of SOA graduate violence and militarization in Latin America.

Although Spain and El Salvador do have an extradition treaty, Salvadoran officials have expressed doubt that the soldiers will be extradited. This is a chilling reminder that, although there are many people fighting for transparency, accountability, and justice throughout the world, powerful forces still make impunity for unspeakable crimes an unfortunate fact in much of the world, particularly for those trained and supported by the United States.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:36
 
2nd Anniversary of the Military Coup in Honduras PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 June 2011 16:08

June 28, 2011 marked the two-year anniversary of the coup d’état in Honduras that illegally removed democratically elected president Manuel Zelaya from office and unfolded a repressive regime that systematically attacks and represses it’s Honduran citizens. June 28th also marked the birth of one of the most important social and political movements of contemporary history of Honduras and Latin America. Here is a video of a protest outside the U.S. military base in Honduras on June 28. The police and military started hitting people with their batons and firing teargas after youths attempted to spray paint exterior walls. One policeman pulls out his gun for no reason.

On July 1, 2011 a human rights delegation visited the community of Rigores, Tocoa, Cortes to learn about the violent and illegal eviction which had occurred there on June 26. While the group was hearing testimonies about last weeks' attack, a group of approximately 50 security forces moved into the community with their guns drawn. Click here to read more and for an action alert.

The SOA Watch movement has been asked by organizations working valiantly at the ground for justice in Honduras to connect members of our movement with two accompaniment programs organized and led by these groups. Click here for more information and get involved.

Here are some photos from the action/ street theater that took place in Washington DC on the 2 year anniversary of the coup.

Click here to read a letter by Jimena Paz of Tegucigalpa, Honduras who has worked since June 2010 as an "activante" with the SOA Watch Latin America office in Venezuela, and was one of the organizers of the 2010 SOA Watch South-North Encuentro. The SOA Watch “Activantia” program invites young people from around the Americas to work together to resist militarization and promote a culture of peace.

Last Updated on Monday, 22 August 2011 16:09
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Memorial Day at Danbury PDF Print E-mail

From Nany Smith, SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience detained in Danbury, CT.

My out date is 1st July and I'm thrilled to be going home, but with that is an immense sadness to be leaving.  This is a place of dreadful futility; almost nothing of value can happen here.  If it does it's because of the strength & persistence of individual women who have found ways to survive.  It is just heart-breaking to know women in their 30's who will be here for the rest of their lives, others who have no place to go back to & so many who will return to the same streets & circumstances that got them here in the first place.

Last Updated on Monday, 27 June 2011 13:41
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Breaking news: First arrest for genocide in Guatemala PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 21 June 2011 14:37

On June 17th, General Héctor Mario López Fuentes was captured in Guatemala City, twenty-nine years after having initiated the execution of Plan Victoria 82, developed by the Army Chief of Staff and Efraín Ríos Montt’s de facto government. He is accused of having perpetrated genocide against the Maya Ixil people in the years 1982-83.

General López FuentesHéctor Mario López Fuentes was trained at the US Army School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). Numerous graduates of the SOA/WHINSEC, like López Fuentes, have a long record of torturing, disappearing and massacring their own people.

Last Updated on Friday, 24 June 2011 18:40
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