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Hope: A Message To The Movement PDF Print E-mail
Theresa Cusimano
SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience

Cusimano FamilyLast week I walked out of federal prison, flew home, and was greeted by my smiling parents at the airport gate. Unlike most other prisoners, I didn’t have to take a 14 hour Greyhound bus; or use my bright red, inmate ID card; nor wear my prison clothes en route. My privilege returned to me the moment of my release. Friends picked me up and drove me to the Westin hotel for a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. Although it was July 11th and there was a heat wave burning through the country, I was still cold from my incarceration.
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SOA Violence Against Protestors in Peru PDF Print E-mail

CongaBy Michael Baney

July 9, 2012

The unfortunate actions in Cajamarca well demonstrate that while Latin America as a whole has greatly changed since the end of the Cold War, human rights and democracy concerns still exist today. Peru has historically been one of the biggest senders of personnel to the School of the Americas, and in recent years the bulk of Peru's SOA students have been members of the National Police. While the American people have a right to know if the police involved in the deadly violence in Cajamarca were trained by SOA/WHINSEC, cross-checking the names of the students with those of the abusers is impossible, as the US Department of Defense refuses to release the names of WHINSEC students, citing "the historical stigma" that has been attached to graduates of the school. Of course, the stigma exists only because so many SOA/WHINSEC graduates have been involved in abuses, which is why SOA Watch will continue to fight get the names of the students released and have the school finally shut down.

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WHINSEC Board of Visitors Meeting - June 27-28, 2012 PDF Print E-mail

On June 27 and 28, 2012, the news that Ecuador had pulled out of the SOA made shock waves in Columbus, Georgia. During those two days, SOA Watch activists – including Fellowship of Reconciliation’s John Lindsay-Poland, former SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience Louis Wolf and members of SOA Watch-Columbus – spoke out at the SOA/WHINSEC Board of Visitors’ meeting.

The activists inquired about the transparency of the school that neither releases the names of the graduates and instructors, nor knows how to track them after they leave. Ecuador’s decision to leave the school left a cloud of doubt over the meeting.

Click here to read Lou Wolf's testimony.

Click here to read John Lindsay-Poland's comments to the Board of Visitors.

The Board of Visitors meets annually, supposedly to “oversee” what happens at the SOA/WHINSEC. However, it appears to be more of a rubber stamp board for PR purposes.

Send letters to the Ecuadoran embassy – as well as to those of Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Venezuela – supporting them for their just and courageous actions. The Americas are rising up!

 
Letter from Opelika Jail PDF Print E-mail

Prison solidarity!

Letter from jail, by Theresa Cusimano, SOA Watch prisoner of conscience

"As you may recall, I entered frustrated and disillusioned. This second time around certainly reminds me of my incredible privilege of being born into an upper middle class family. It reminds me why justice work is central to our existence. Sharing cannot be an option... it must be required if we are ever to pretened we are a merciful community of citizens."

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We Won't Stop Until They Do!

On April 16, 2012, human rights activists took to the streets around Capitol Hill in a spirited parade, culminating a week of trainings, workshops, music and lobbying to close the School of the Americas. Police on foot, bicycle, motorcycle and in vehicles prohibited free passage of the march, limiting SOA Watch activists abilities to be heard and seen by Congressional staff. Thirteen were arrested as they tried to lead the march down Independence Avenue in front of the Congressional buildings, but were impeded by dozens of police who blockaded their passage and expression of free speech.

Check out more photos of the march and action!


The 13 were released over 6 hours later and ironically charged with "blocking passage". Read their statements here.

Inside Congress, students, teachers, labor leaders and activists pressed their Representatives to cosponsor HR3368, the bill to suspend and investigate the SOA/WHINSEC. Amplify the voices of those who are meeting with their Members of Congress today, by calling your Representative's office in Washington, DC. Just call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (the phone number is (202) 224-3121), provide the zip code of the place where you live, and the operator will connect you to your Representatives' office. Click here for a call script.

The weekend's conference, strategy sessions and concert brought organizers together around issues of de-militarization, joining the thousands in Cartagena, Colombia, who attended the People's Summit of the Americas.

We will not be silenced. Despite police censorship of our message, the movement to close the SOA/WHINSEC will continue to demand a closure of the School of Assassins and an end to militarization. Our efforts are fueled with the knowledge that we will prevail!

Check out more photos of the march and action!



Desde el Sur

SOA Watch activantes Marlín Rodríguez and Amanda Jordan prepared a short video piece from Chile which was aired to conference and strategy session participants.

 
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