White House to Meet with SOA Watch Delegation! Print

SOA Watch News & Updates
Step by step the longest march can be won...
Top White House Official to Meet with SOA Watch Delegation to Discuss the SOA/WHINSEC!

You did it! After protests and nonviolent direct actions, thousands of petitions, and letters from religious leaders and Members of Congress, the White House has agreed to sit down with an SOA Watch delegation to discuss the School of the Americas / Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. The meeting will take place in the office of our good friend Representative Jim McGovern on Capitol Hill on September 17. This meeting was made possible by continuous grassroots activism to close the SOA/ WHINSEC across the Americas.

Denis McDonough is President Obama's Deputy National Security Advisor. He is one of the most senior officials in the White House.

The SOA Watch delegation will be comprised of torture survivors, religious and union leaders, Members of Congress, and academics. Click here to read about the delegation.

We believe that this is a good opportunity and we're going into the meeting with an open heart. Hoping to get through to him and to lay the groundwork for the closing of the SOA and a change in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America.

At the same time we are not naive. We know that U.S. policy towards Latin America has been different only by degree under Republican and Democratic administrations, and that we are up against a giant (the Pentagon).

Getting at meeting at this level has taken years of persistent, cross-border grassroots struggle. We will go into this meeting remembering the thousands of martyrs of SOA violence, and knowing that closing the SOA would be one step in the larger struggle for justice and dignity.

The Obama administration has the power to listen to the people of the Americas, or to continue the policies of past administrations. Please take a moment to write to Denis McDonough, thanking him for meeting with the SOA Watch delegation, and encouraging him to do the right thing.

P.S. We'll be discussing updates from the meeting and how to prepare for the November Vigil on our September 19 national conference call. Please RSVP today!

Mexican Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity arrives in DC
“No Están Solos!”

Yesterday, September 10th, the 120 members of the Mexican Peace Caravan arrived in Washington, DC, concluding their 6,000 mile-voyage across the United States. Through 26 cities, the historic caravan carried the message of ending the War on Drugs, militarized US foreign policy, gun smuggling, money laundering and inhumane immigration policies.

I had the privilege of joining the caravan for the final few days from New York to Washington: marching, yelling, laughing, sharing meals and of course, listening to the stories of a son disappeared, a daughter, a brother.

Click here to read the report back from Nico Udu-gama.
SOA Watch Activists on Trial
On September 18, the day after our meeting with the White House, five SOA Watch activists will stand trial in Washington, DC.

The “SOA 5,” a group of human rights activists from different parts of the country, were on Capitol Hill, among hundreds of other activists, to ask Congress to close the SOA and end the militarization of Latin America. As they tried to lead the march down Independence Avenue in front of the Congressional buildings, they were impeded by dozens of police who blockaded their passage. Despite the threat of arrest by the Capitol Hill police, the brave activists insisted to stand for their right of speech.

The defendants are: Amber Mason (26; Washington, DC), Becca Polk (27; Bloomfield, Michigan), Kevin Mason (29; Washington, DC), Maia Rodriguez (24; Arlington, Virginia), & Father Roy Bourgeois (73; Columbus, Georgia).

Click here to read statements of those who were arrested.

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