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Home News Organizing Updates Colombian SOA Watch Speaker Assassinated - Lobby Day Report - US-trained Zetas in the News
Colombian SOA Watch Speaker Assassinated - Lobby Day Report - US-trained Zetas in the News PDF Print E-mail
SOA Watch Update
February 25, 2005

1. Colombian human rights activist ? and SOA Watch speaker ? assassinated
in San Jose de Apartado Peace Community
2. DC Lobby Day Reportback
3. SOA-trained Zetas working as drug-related mercenaries in US

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1. LUIS EDUARDO GUERRA, HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST AND SPEAKER AT 2002 SOA WATCH VIGIL, ASSASSINATED WITH SIX OTHERS IN COLOMBIA

SOA Watch received the terrible news this week from the Colombia Support Network of the murder of Luis Eduardo, one of the leaders of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community in Uraba, Colombia. Luis died with seven other civilians, including three children, at the hands of the 11th Brigade of the Colombian Army.

Luis Eduardo was a founding member of the San Jose de Apartado Peace Community, a nonviolent community that has stood up to incredible paramilitary and military repression and to targeting by all armed actors in the region since its inception in 1997. Click here to read more about the community.

In November of 2002, Luis was a featured speaker at the Fort Benning Vigil to Close the SOA/ WHINSEC. Click here to read more about Luis, and to find out what actions you can take TODAY to demand accountability for these brutal murders.


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2. DC LOBBY DAY AND ACTIONS A SUCCESS

SOA Watch activists from around the country gathered here in DC this week -- and phoned in from their communities -- to counter the Pentagon's public relations attempts with grassroots power! Together they flooded the halls of Congress, the Pentagon and beyond with the message: Close the SOA/ WHINSEC!

SOA Watchers gathered in Washington, DC this week for several days of strategizing, regional networking, lobbying and action. Tuesday's Lobby Day began with a vigil at the main entrance to the Pentagon calling for the closure of the SOA/ WHINSEC. Three former SOA Watch prisoners/
probationers of conscience were arrested when they nonviolently knelt down in the entranceway and blocked access to the building. They will appear in court on May 20. The Lobby Day ended with a powerful vigil at the Justice Department calling for the resignation of Alberto Gonzalez,
newly-confirmed Attorney General and author of the "torture memos" that led to the abuses at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, and an end to torture policies.

Hundreds more SOA Watch activists joined the efforts of those here on Capitol Hill by calling their Members of Congress on Tuesday and asking them to sign on as introductory co-sponsors of Rep. McGovern's soon-to-be-introduced bill to close and investigate the SOA/ WHINSEC. After less than a week of lobbying, we already have more than 35 introductory co-sponsors!

KEEP UP THE CONSTITUENT PRESSURE: Continue to contact your Members of Congress!

* For Representatives: Co-sponsor new, upcoming legislation that calls for the suspension and investigation of the SOA/WHINSEC. Have them Call Rep. McGovern?s office for more information.

* For Senators: Introduce companion legislation in the Senate that would call for the suspension and investigation of the SOA/WHINSEC.

VISIT the Legislative Action Index for updates and tips on contacting your Congressional reps.


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3. SOA-TRAINED ZETAS WORKING AS DRUG-RELATED MERCENARIES IN THE U.S.

Yesterday the ?Washington Times? reported that former Mexican soldiers, police and federal agents, originally trained as an elite force of anti-drug commandos, are working as mercenaries for Mexican narcotics traffickers, bringing a new wave of drug-related killings into the United
States. At least one-third of this ?well-armed gang,? known as the Zetas, was trained at the School of the Americas, according to the Mexican Secretary of Defense.

This isn?t the first time that the Zetas have been in the news. In 2003, the ?Brownsville Herald? reported that the US-trained Zetas were the Gulf Cartel?s new ?rare weapon? in the war for drug-trafficking supremacy. The article continues:

?The Zetas, hired assassins for the Gulf Cartel, feature 31 ex-soldiers once part of an elite division of the Mexican army ? the Special Air Mobile Force Group. At least one-third of this battalion?s deserters was trained at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga., according to documents from the Mexican secretary of defense.?

Law-enforcement and intelligence officials said the Zetas are linked to hundreds of killings and dozens of kidnappings on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border, particularly over a wide area of southeastern Texas from Laredo to Brownsville and in cities throughout Mexico.

Click here to read the whole article.
 

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