HR1707 Introduced & Updates from Latin America Print

HR 1707 Introduced in the House!

TAKE ACTION! - SEND A FAX AND EMAIL TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVE NOW!

Thanks to your actions and pressure on Congress, Rep. Jim McGovern introduced HR 1707 on March 27, 2007, with 72 original co-sponsors! This new legislation would suspend operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC and investigate the association of torture and human rights abuses associated with the school.

We need your help generating more cosponsors and support for HR 1707! Visit the Legislative Action Index on our website to learn more about how YOU can get involved and add your cosponsor as a supporter of this legislation. Use our Democracy In Action tool to send an automatic letter to your Member of Congress or access our sample call script and the congressional switchboard phone number to make your views heard in Washington! You can also access the updated list of cosponsors at the bottom of that page.

For more information, please contact the Legislative Coordinator of SOA Watch, Pam Bowman at pbowman(@)soaw.org or 202-234-3440.

Find Out More About our Legislative Campaign to Shut Down the SOA/WHINSEC

Make a Donation to SOA Watch


April 25-27: Fast to Close the SOA/WHINSEC

With a new bill and an imminent vote that would suspend operations at the SOA/WHINSEC, April is a time of hope and remembrance for the victims of human rights abuses throughout the Americas.

On April 25-27, peacemakers, community organizers, prisoners of conscience and human rights advocates around the country will be fasting to raise awareness of the victims of the SOA/WHINSEC. Public fasts and events in front of Congressional offices, federal buildings, university campus centers and public spaces will inform the public and new members of Congress about the SOA/WHINSEC and why we believe it must be shut down!

It is up to us, the people, to inspire a change in people's hearts and minds and bring peace and justice to the hemisphere. We must make ourselves heard, we must make ourselves visible and let our Representatives in Congress and leaders in government know that we believe in peace, human rights and transparency!

Download the April Fast Organizing Packet and Start Organizing!

If you are interested in organizing a Fast or Event please contact our Communications Coordinator, Joao Da Silva, at jdasilva(at)soaw(dot)org or call 202-234-3440.


Updates from Latin America

Peruvian SOA Graduates Arrested by ICE

Retired Peruvian military officers Telmo Hurtado and Juan Rivera Rondon were arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, in Florida and Baltimore respectively, in violation of U.S. immigration laws this past week.

Hurtado and Rivera stand accused for the August 14, 1985 massacre of 69 children, women and men in the village of Accomarca, in the southeastern region of Ayacucho, Peru. Both are facing a 2006 extradition order by a Peruvian court for leading the four military brigades which executed the 69 civilians.

Telmo Hurtado and Juan Rivera Rondon attended Arms Orientation courses at the U.S. Army School of the Americas from 1981-1982 during the height of military repression. According to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that investigated the political violence in Peru during the 1980's, the armed forces killed and "disappeared" more than 7,250 civilians who were not involved in the conflict.

Take Action! - Contact the Peruvian Embassy and Demand that Telmo Hurtado and Juan Rivera Rondon be extradited to face justice in Peru!

Read More About this Breaking News...

Read More About Telmo Hurtado and Juan Rivera Rondon


CIA Cites Colombian SOA Instructor Montoya Uribe for Paramilitary Connection

A recent Los Angeles Times article reported that a CIA report linked Colombia's top ranking military officer General Mario Montoya to Colombia's right wing paramilitaries.

Colombia's paramilitaries, considered terrorist organizations by the U.S. government, are financed by drug trafficking and have long been suspected of collaboration with the Colombian military and key government leaders and politicians.

General Mario Montoya attended the School of the Americas as student in 1983 and as an instructor in 1993. The CIA report states that Montoya and a paramilitary group jointly planned and conducted a military operation in 2002 to eliminate Marxist guerrillas from poor areas around Medellin where at least 14 people were killed and dozens more disappeared.

Read the Complete Los Angeles Times article

Read More About General Montoya

Read a Compelling Article on Plan Colombia by Linda Panetta


SOA Watch in Guatemala, Honduras & El Salvador

As part of our ongoing campaign to visit countries with troops attending the SOA/WHINSEC and strengthening our relationships with human rights organizations in Latin America, an SOA Watch delegation recently traveled to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Lisa Sullivan-Rodriguez of the SOA Watch Latin America Project, Carlos Mauricio of the Stop Impunity Project, Linda Panetta of SOA Watch Northeast and Fr. Roy Bourgeois of SOA Watch traveled to the three Central American nations with the most dramatic cases of SOA/WHINSEC violence and U.S. military intervention.

"Clearly, our visit served to remind citizens that their countries were continuing to send troops to the SOA/WHINSEC, a place of horrors in the minds of most Central Americans. Even the Guatemalan (Meeting with the Guatemalan Defense Minister) and Honduran Defense Ministers seemed surprised when we shared the current numbers we had for their students at the school. Either they are highly disorganized, are polished fibbers, or the SOA/WHINSEC is inflating its figures. Whatever the case, word spread quickly that the SOA was alive and well and not buried with its old name, as many had thought.

Many organizations made commitments to continue to pressure their governments to withdraw their troops from the SOA/WHINSEC. Together we realized how important it is to join our efforts, north and south, to close this school of assassins and to monitor other institutions so that they will not become a morphed version of the SOA/WHINSEC. We left Central America, a land of martyrs, inspired by the commitment of so many people who refuse for death to have the final word."


Continue Reading Lisa Sullivan's Reportback

Read More About the SOA Watch Latin America Project


Fort Huachuca 2 Free Until June Trial

U.S. District Court Magistrate Hector Estrada Tuesday refused to grant a military prosecutor's repeated plea to jail two Roman Catholic priests, each with a long record of nonviolent protest and subsequent imprisonment, pending their trial for trespass last fall at Fort Huachuca, in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Estrada set trials to begin in Tucson on June 4 for Jesuit Fr. Steve Kelly and June 6 for Franciscan Fr. Louis Vitale. It is expected that the cases will be consolidated, and the men will be tried together that week.

The priests were arrested near the Fort Huachuca gatehouse last November 19 during a demonstration in conjunction with the annual vigil to Close the SOA/WHINSEC at Fort Benning, Georgia. The two were arrested as they sought entry to speak with enlisted personnel and deliver a letter denouncing torture and the Military Commissions Act of 2006 to Major General Barbara Fast, commander at the post and a key figure in the torture scandal at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

Fr. Louie Vitale is a member of Pace e Bene, whose mission is "to develop the spirituality and practice of active nonviolence as a way of living and being and as a process for cultural transformation." Fr. Vitale is also a co-founder of the Nevada Desert Experience, a faith-based organization that has opposed nuclear weapons testing for a quarter of a century. Fr. Vitale recently served six months in jail following his arrest at the Ft. Benning vigil in November, 2005, and was ejected from congressional hearings in September after speaking out against the Military Commissions Act.

Fr. Steve Kelly is a member of the Redwood City Catholic Worker community and has served time in federal prison for the nonviolent direct disarmament of nuclear weapon delivery systems. In December, 2005, Kelly served as chaplain for Witness to Torture, a delegation of over two dozen U.S. anti-torture activists who defied the U.S. embargo of Cuba with a peaceful march through that nation to the gates of the Guantanamo Bay navel base and prison camp.


Read more about the Fort Huachuca 2