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Our Struggle Continues! Venceremos!

From November 16-18, over two thousand students, prison abolitionists, teachers, nuns, immigrants, musicians, farmers, activists and workers from across the Americas mobilized to the gates of Fort Benning, to once more express our humanity and solidarity against the school of death and destruction. This year, we were fortunate to have so many activists from Latin America and the Caribbean who shared their stories with us and walked with us. It was a true manifestation of the saying: "Somos Una América! We are One America!"



On Sunday, November 18, we called out the names of our martyrs, including Ebed Yanes, 15, who was assassinated by SOA-trained troops in May, 2012, in Honduras. From left: Fr Ismael Moreno Coto of Honduras, Fr Roy Bourgeois, Adriana Portillo-Bartow, Dr. Martin Almada of Paraguay.


Thousands came together, including many for the very first time. This year, the names of people who died crossing the US/Mexico border were read along with those of SOA victims.


Expressing a vision of the world through puppetry is an integral part of the SOA Watch movement. On Saturday, the puppetistas brought out the USS Empire, representing the 520 years of oppression... which was later overwhelmed by our collective resistance!


Nashua Chantal, 60 years old, from Americus, Georgia, as he climbs the ladder over the fence at Fort Benning, to carry our protest onto the base. He faces 6 months in prison. Nashua will be in federal court in Columbus on January 9, 2013 to put the SOA/ WHINSEC on trial.


Fort Benning military police arrest Nashua for crossing the line.


Hundreds watch as Nashua is taken away. Our resistance transcends borders and fences, and we will not stop until they do!



Click here to see more photos from Tom Bottolene. And from Steve Pavey. If you have any pictures you took and would like to share them, you can upload them to the SOA Watch Flickr page.

Special thanks to the Mobile Broadcast Network who livestreamed the Vigil. Check out a clip of Rebel Díaz and Fr Roy here, and of the Puppetista pageant and interviews in Spanish here.

Also, check a report back from Father Melo about his experience at the gates. Nina spoke of her first trip to Fort Benning, as did Dominique, who rode on the Veterans for Peace bus from Minnesota. From Ft Benning to Cairo, Eva reports on her views of militarism. Also, Rebel Diaz rapper Rodstarz wrote of his encounter with undercover police. Check the reports out!

We marched to the Stewart Detention Center to protest unjust immigration laws; we connected our issues during caucuses and workshops; we remembered the names of the victims; and one of us took our collective message over the fence. We left with the renewed knowledge that our struggle did not begin or end at Fort Benning, but that we will continue to build a just and peaceful world in our communities every single day of the year!

Thank you to all of you who participated in the Vigil weekend and we invite you to stay connected and continue to spread the word through talks in your communities, video-showings, house-meetings, dances, theater, and legislative work (see you in DC April 8-10, 2013!). Take a rest, and get ready for a rebellious and transformative 2013!

In struggle,

SOA Watch

PS: In the coming weeks, we will be delivering a letter to Congress urging them to include SOA/WHINSEC in their mandatory budget cuts. If you haven't done so, please ask your local, regional or national organization to sign on to the SOA Watch Congressional letter.

 

Contact us

SOA Watch
5525 Illinois Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20011

phone: 202-234-3440
email: info@soaw.org