El Salvador Delegation Report Back Print

25 SOA Watch activists meet with Vice President Sanchez Ceren and other presidential candidates

by Lisa Sullivan

If ever there were a more compelling tale to provoke a stampede to shut the doors of the School of the Americas, it would be the tale of tiny El Salvador. As 25 of us discovered on a recent SOA Watch delegation there, even former supporters admit: the time has come.

The legacy of that school is etched in blood on the hearts and minds of Salvadorans, and on the walls, parks and pastures of their cities and towns. A wall in central San Salvador with 35,000 names engraved, most of them murdered by orders by SOA graduates. A makeshift cross under the shade of a conacaste tree where four bodies of US churchwomen were dumped. A garden where rose bushes grow on the spots where six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter were murdered by the SOA- formed Atlacatl Battalion. A closet with the possessions left behind by MonseƱor Romero, assassinated on orders of an SOA graduate. There are no shoes: Romero was buried in the only pair he owned.

That is the image that clings to me the most. El Salvador was a nation of one pair of shoes. After dozens of people attending Romero's funeral were gunned down, the massive crowd scrambled for safety. The next day, many returned cautiously: they were looking for their one lost pair of shoes.

But, these one-pair-of -shoes-per-person were our sworn enemies. From the mid 1980's to early 1990's, we sent a million dollars a day to the Salvadoran military to wipe them out. We printed handbooks to show just how to torture them. We taught their fellow citizens how to shoot down those dared to raise their voices The blood of tiny El Salvador is on all of our hands.

This is why we began our delegation's first meeting, in El Salvador's National Assembly, with just one phrase: forgive us. As we filed into a hearing room with the Justice and Human Rights Commission, most of the legislators were busy on cell phones or laptops. Each of us stood to say our names, our professions, our town and then, one word: perdon. By the time the 9th or 10th person stood, there was utter silence. As we reached the last person, there were tears. Hearts broke open, real dialogue ensued, and at the end of the session, even those representing the right wing parties agreed that this school must close.

(continue reading Lisa Sullivan's report on the SOAW delegation to El Salvador here )

Learn first hand about the reality of U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. Join a delegation.

Call Congress: US funding Honduran Police with Death Squad Ties

Call Congress: US funding Honduran Police with Death Squad Ties

A March 23rd Associated Press article, "US Aids Honduran Police Despite Death Squad Fears," has revealed that the United States is funding Honduran police units under the command of SOA graduate Juan Carlos Bonilla, who has been "accused of three extrajudicial killings and links to 11 more deaths and disappearances" as well as "social cleansing" -- despite the State Department assuring Congress that they are not. Not only is what the AP revealed in direct contradiction to the State Department's claims, but it also violates the Leahy law.

Call your Congressional representative to demand an end to ALL police and military aid to Honduras and that he/she contact the State Department to demand to know why the U.S. is funding Honduran police units with alleged ties to death squad activity, despite assurances otherwise. Click here for the number and a sample script.

Just this month, leaders of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan reported that they narrowly escaped an ambush and denounced "ongoing monitoring by police and military infiltrators who are paid by the landowner [Miguel Facusse, one of the largest landowners in Honduras]" and that "in every operation we have found one or two policemen or soldiers who are working to persecute us." Read more here.

The egregious human rights abuses in Honduras are a direct result of the 2009 SOA-graduate led coup. Click here to ask your member of Congress to support the upcoming bill to suspend and investigate the SOA/WHINSEC.

Call Congress today to demand an end to all US police and military aid to Honduras. For more from Honduras, visit SOAW.org/honduras


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