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Home News Organizing Updates Join a delegation to Peru after we converge on Ft Benning!
Join a delegation to Peru after we converge on Ft Benning! PDF Print E-mail
This December, after we converge on the gates of Fort Benning, consider joining the Alliance for Global Justice in a delegation to Peru to speak out for climate Cumbre de los Pueblosjustice and learn about the connections between militarization and environmental destruction. After hundreds of thousands converged in New York City for the UN Climate Summit, all eyes now turn to the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, where negotiations will take place. This delegation will join activists from across Peru for mobilizations at the UN Conference as well as a parallel People's Summit. Prior to the Summit, the delegation will meet with student, labor, indigenous, and anti-militarization activists, including those protesting a new US Military Base planned for Peru, part of the US strategy to re-assert its power in the region as other South American countries defy US domination. Peru is the third largest recipient of US military aid in Latin America and also sends the third highest number of students to WHINSEC. In 2013, 157 Peruvian soldiers were trained at Fort Benning and past notorious graduates include one of former President Fujimori's most trusted advisors and head of his intelligence service as well as others responsible for extrajudicial executions, kidnappings, and massacres.

While much of this militarization is done in the name of the drug war, its real goal is to assert US power in the region and counter social movements, especially those defending their land, water, and natural resources from destruction by multi-national corporations. The delegation will visit Cajamara, Peru, where Indigenous people have faced intense repression for resisting the imposition of an enormous open-pit gold mine, which would destroy part of the water basins for three provinces. US Newmont Mining Corporation, based in Colorado, owns over half of the interests in the megaproject that would not only lead to lack of water for the region's residents, who depend on agriculture for survival, but also likely poison the water and the people through mercury, cyanide and other heavy metals used in open-pit gold mining.

On July 3, 2012, Peruvian police and soldiers opened fire on protestors against the mine, killing five and seriously injuring dozens. Subsequently, President (and SOA graduate) Ollanta Humala declared a state of emergency in the region, effectively instituting martial law and suspending civil liberties. Since then, “not a single member of the security forces has been held responsible for the brutality, the allegations of torture, the scores of serious injuries, nor the five deaths - all acts perpetrated in the name of 'crowd control.'” In January 2014, the Peruvian government passed a law granting members of the armed forces and the national police exemption from criminal responsibility if they kill or injure civilians while on duty.

Over 300 people in the Cajamarca region who oppose the mine have been charged with crimes, including local authorities and the Regional Governor, who is currently in jail, but still leading the polls for re-election because of his opposition to the mine. The delegation will visit the jail where he is held as well as meet with other leaders of the struggle against the mine, including many who have faced intense repression such as Máxima Acuña, who recalls how mining employees, escorted by riot police and soldiers, “beat me and my daughter without compassion... and have threatened to come back again to kill us.” If you are interested in joining the delegation or finding out more, please contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it as soon as possible.

The repression and militarization of communities standing up to defend their environment, water, and lives from multi-national corporations is the day-to-day reality for many across Latin America who are resisting corporate megaprojects that would destroy their environment and their lives. In Honduras, an Indigenous leader fighting against a dam and for his community's right to live in harmony with the earth was murdered by a military unit commanded by an SOA graduate. In a similar struggle in Panama, protesters have been murdered and attacked by security forces; their identities are unknown, but while Panama does not have a military, members of its security forces attend WHINSEC. In Guatemala, SOA graduate President Otto Perez Molina has declared military states of siege in municipalities defending their natural resources from multi-national mining and dams. Soldiers are sent in, social movement leaders are often arrested, and communities are repressed and threatened. We will be joined at the SOA Watch Vigil this year by Danilo Zuleta from San Rafael Las Flores, Guatemala, a region that has suffered severe military and state repression for its opposition to a Canadian silver mine that would poison their water and destroy their environment. Join us at the Vigil to hear from Danilo and learn more about the life and death struggle for water, land, and self-determination.

The increasing use of US trained and funded militaries to murder and repress those who defend their natural resources and livelihoods, forcing the destruction of environments and the livelihoods of entire regions that depend on those ecosystems, all for the profit of corporations, is one of the many reasons why we are mobilizing this November 21-23 to speak out against US militarization and domination. Join us at the gates of Ft. Benning to speak out for the rights of people and human life over the rights of corporations to pollute, poison, and pillage.

See you in November!

Brigitte
SOA Watch

P.S. Interested in future SOAW Delegations to El Salvador (March 20-29), Chile, the border, or Colombia?  Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Also, click here to make a donation to help bring Danilo and other young leaders to the Vigil!

 

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