SOA Grad Found in U.S. & Other Updates Print

SOA Watch Update
October 26, 2006

  • SOA Grad Convicted for Priest Massacre found in the U.S.
  • Living The Dream March
  • 1000 Grandmothers Needed
  • FOIA Request Denial Update
  • NCR Cafe: Online Coverage for this Years Vigil
  • SOA Watch and Witness for Peace Delegation to Colombia

  • SOA Graduate Convicted for Priest Massacre Found in the U.S.

    The shocking event that galvanized opposition to the U.S. relationship with Central American death squads and that sparked the movement to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas is making headlines again. Former Salvadoran army officer Gonzalo Guevara Cerritos, convicted for the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests, a housekeeper and her 14-year-old daughter, was arrested by federal agents on October 18 in Los Angeles, California.

    Gonzalo Guevara Cerritos, a sub-lieutenant in the notorious Atlacatl Battalion, took part in the November 16, 1989 massacre at the Central American University (UCA) in San Salvador. Less than a year before the brutal killings, Guevara Cerritos received military training at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia.

    In 1991, a jury in El Salvador convicted Guevara Cerritos for instigation and conspiracy to commit acts of terrorism. The convicted terrorist escaped with minor consequences, being released in 1993 after less than two years of house arrest.

    According to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office, Guevara Cerritos entered the country illegally in January 2005. He is now being held at a detention facility in California.

    Read more about this breaking news.

    Living The Dream March - 2006

    SOA Watch is honored and humbled to be a part of this historical event and to have key figures of the Civil Rights movement bless us with their presence at this years vigil in Ft. Benning. The civil rights movement is an example to us all that non-violence and community building are the keys to inspire change in people hearts and minds.

    Living the Dream ? Co-Creating the Beloved Community of Humankind

    A week of nonviolence education and action, Nov. 11-19, 2006: From Selma, Alabama to Ft. Benning, Columbus, Georgia.<

    On November 12, participants in a week of nonviolence education and action, responding to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s call to "re-dedicate ourselves to the long and bitter but beautiful struggle for a new world" and to his dream of a unified, non-violent "beloved community,? will convene in Selma, Alabama, and begin an empowering seven day pilgrimage to Ft. Benning in Columbus, Georgia.

    During the march, mass meetings will be held in Montgomery, Waugh, Tuskegee, and Opelika, Alabama and in Columbus, Georgia. Participants and local community members will celebrate past successes of the way of nonviolence and will examine the need for nonviolent actions NOW to address local, national and international problems.

    Arriving in Columbus, Georgia, on Nov. 18, participants will take part in the 17th annual protest against the existence of a Ft. Benning military training institution whose graduates continue to be implicated in civilian-targeted killings throughout Latin America. The school, formerly known as the School of the Americas, changed its name to Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001. UN human rights documents report SOA/WHINSEC graduates have led operations involving torture, assassinations and massacres of innocent civilians.

    Read More About the Living the Dream March.

    1000 Grandmothers Needed Close Down the SOA/WHINSEC

    Imagine the courage of one thousand grandmothers standing together at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia. Imagine the gentle wisdom of one thousand caregivers taking action to stop the teaching of counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. Imagine the power of one thousand change-makers saying NO to the perpetuation of crimes against humanity, especially against indigenous communities and children.

    Join the 1000 grandmothers (and grandfathers) to march to the gates to take action against this madness. The image of the elders taking a stand is one we believe can impact the American psyche. We hope you will consider joining 1000 Grandmothers this November in Fort Benning, Georgia.

    It is time for the grandmothers (and others) of the world to bring forth their soul force, join SOA Watch, and close down the SOA/WHINSEC.

    Read More About the 1000 Grandmothers Campaign

    FOIA Request Denial Update

    After the Pentagon denied our 2005 FOIA request for the names, rank, country of origin and courses attended by students at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), we urged you, our supporters, to contact your Representatives in Congress to request that the Department of Defense release this important information to human rights organizations so that they may continue their important work in the name of human rights and justice for Latin America.

    Your support has been overwhelming: more than 2000 letters have been sent to Representatives around the country! THANK YOU for contributing to this effort and defending ours and your constitutional rights.

    Send a letter to your Representative and read more about the FOIA request .

    NCR Cafe: Online Coverage of the November Vigil

    Seeking to inform and inspire a just and peaceful world, serving as a platform for discussions of church, society and global community; the folks at National Catholic Reporter have set up an amazing feature on their website which will keep people from around the country connected with updates, commentary, and interviews related to this years Vigil. isn?t a blog in the traditional sense - it is a true online community discussion of values and beliefs by people who are passionate about human dignity, justice, compassion and inclusiveness. begins on November 1st and will feature:

    - Podcast interviews with SOA Watch founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois; Agape Community co-founder and peace educator Suzanne Belote Shanley; Bishop Morlino, Board of Visitors of WHINSEC (formerly SOA, School of the Amerias) and others.

    - Weekly column, "On the Road to Peace", by peace activist and author Fr. John Dear, SJ.

    - The Peace Pulpit, a weekly homily by Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, long-time national and international activist in the peace movement.

    - Blogs for discussion of all podcasts and columns as well as discussion of new entries by our readers.

    - A daily journal by students from Catholic universities who are organizing and participating in the rally.

    Visit the NCR Cafe site and find out more.

    SOA Watch and Witness for Peace Delegation to Colombia

    Terror and Trade: Resisting Violence in Colombia

    December 1-13, 2006

    The peace community of San Jose de Apartad? in Antioqu?a and the newly formed humanitarian zone in the Curvarad? river basin of the Choco department need our support as they confront continued economic and military violence. Both communities continue to develop and implement new strategies to reclaim their rights as civilian population in the war torn region, thus giving delegates the opportunity to witness and support local campesino initiatives. 2005 was a difficult year in the Urab? region for these communities with the assassination of multiple campesino leaders, including Luis Eduardo Guerra and Orlando Valencia and these communities need the solidarity of the international community to continue their struggle for truth, dignity, land rights and recognition as a legitimate nonviolent proposal.

    We will visit these communities to learn about their dreams and their struggles, and the competing visions for the future of Uraba and all of Colombia.

    Cost: The price of the delegation is $1590 USD. The delegation fee covers all set-up, preparation, meals, lodging, interpreters, and transportation within Colombia, but does not include transportation to and from Colombia. The fee also covers extensive reading and activist tools both before and after the delegation.

    Deadline: ASAP. Application with a non-refundable deposit of $150 due November 1.

    Contact: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 207-947-5631
    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , 207-266-5895

    Read more about the delegation to Colombia.