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Feb 20th
¡Presente! Home
It's time to turn hope into reality PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pablo Ruiz   
ImageThis year the new president of the United States is Barack Obama. The eyes of the world are on him since during the government of ex-president George Bush there were only wars and the continuation of a warlike and neoliberal foreign policy that did not bring any progress to his country, much less to the world.

The legacy Bush’s policies have left is the discrediting of the United States, which was led into an unjust war in Iraq that has left thousands of dead, especially  civilians whom the laws of war say must be protected. He is also responsible for the recent economic crisis, the consequence of a voracious and unjust economic model that leaves the world in a disastrous state. We still don’t know the real dimensions of this but it shows that following the path of neoliberalism doesn’t lead anywhere.

It is clear that the human rights community expects a great deal from President  Obama, and the part that especially concerns us is the hope that  he will issue an executive order to close the new School of the Americas, rebaptized as the Western Hemispheric Institute of Security Cooperation.

ImageMartin Luther King, the great African-American leader who fought for the civil and political rights of his people, said that "true peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” For this reason, and rightly so, the peoples of Latin America also want a new relationship with the government of the United States.

A new relationship means respect for the sovereignty and the decisions of each country and an end to political and military interventions against our countries. In concrete terms, no more military nor ideological instruction of Latin American soldiers in the School of the Americas which has only resulted in violations of human rights and coups in our countries. No more military bases of any kind in our territories. No more promotion of the arms race. These are among the measures that Obama should take to solidify a safer world and Latin America as a land of peace.

If it is true that the new president of the United States wants to make real changes in U.S. foreign policy, then we can suppose that we are closer than ever to closing this military school. If it is true that we have an intelligent president, it shouldn’t take long for him to figure out that the School of the Americas has been an instrument of oppression and violation of human rights of the peoples of Latin America.

If we win this battle and close the School of the Americas, we wil be taking the first step, winning the first victory, but also beginning new battles: the principal one being to get the government of the United States to order an investigation of this military institution, to bring those responsible to justice and to assure to the victims truth, justice and reparation.

Pablo Ruiz
SOA Watch Communications Coordinator Pablo Ruiz
Whether or not there is a will to acknowledge it, the crimes committed by graduates of the School of the Americas were promoted, not just by the torture manuals discovered in 1996, but also by the different North American governments that gave carte blanche to the military. Because of this, they should also be brought to justice for their unjustified and inhumane decisions. Only in this way can we begin to heal and clean up a history of abuses that must never again happen in our name.  
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written by Retirement Home, May 14, 2009
We, as individual and concerned citizen should also participate to make this hope turn into reality. We have our own businesses to mind as a part of rising up again
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written by Lori, February 11, 2010
I'm in full agreement. We shouldn't want blood on our hands.
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Featured Article
Download the Spring 2016 issue of Presente

The Spring issue contains mobilizing information for the SOA Watch Border Convergence, which is taking place from October 7-10, 2016 at the US/Mexico border in Nogales, and also focuses on recent developments in Latin America and within the SOA Watch movement.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Spring 2016 issue.

As this issue of Presente went to print, our hearts were heavy. The assassination of our dear friend and comrade Berta Cáceres, and the increased repression against social movement groups, have left us shocked and saddened. SOA Watch Latin America liaison Brigitte Gynther traveled to Honduras the morning after she learned about the assassination and has been coordinating SOA Watch’s response together with our partner groups on the ground. If you do not already receive Urgent Action emails from us, please click here to sign up now.

The recent decision by the U.S. judge in North Carolina to extradite one of the perpetrators of the 1989 massacre at the University of San Salvador gives us hope that justice will prevail in the end. It will take all of us to create change! Please join us as we mobilize to the U.S./Mexico border from October 7-10, 2016!

Other articles in this issue cover a protest by SOA Watch in Chile against US bases in Latin America, the FBI surveillance of SOA Watch, updates from Colombia and Mexico, news about the first Border Patrol agent to receive training at WHINSEC, background information about Direct Action, the Youth Encuentro in Guatemala, and more.

Download this issue of Presente here.

SOA Violence
Image SOA Grads Responsible For UCA Massacre Face Extradition, Military Officers Arrested in El Salvador The 1989 massacre of 16-year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and six Jesuit priests in El Salvador, that galvanized opposition to the U.S. relationship with Central American death squads and that sparked the movement to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, is making headlines again.
International Human Rights Encuentro in Bajo Aguán, Honduras

fathermila.jpgInterview with Father Fausto Mila in Honduras

SOA Watch participated in the International Human Rights Encuentro in Honduras in February 2012. Laura Jung spoke with Father Fausto Milla, a religious leader in the Honduran movement who has been persecuted by the State of Honduras.  

Local Organizing
For 25 Years the SOA Watch Movement has been on a Journey A journey to live into the radical hope that marked the lives of  14-year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba, and Jesuit priest dissidents Ignacio Ellacuría, S.J., Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J., Segundo Montes, S.J., Juan Ramón Moreno, S.J., Joaquín López y López, S.J., Amando López, SJ.
Direct Action
Moving the 2016 November Vigil to the Border? The 2015 Vigil is still going to take place at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, but there are discussions within the SOA Watch movement to move the 2016 vigil to the militarized U.S./Mexico border. What do you think?
Image Latin American Resistance & U.S. Solidarity Latin America has a 500 year history of resistance to the violence of colonialism, militarization, and elite domination. It is a legacy to treasure and honor.
SOA Watch in Latin America
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By Pablo Ruiz, Equipo Latinoamericano of SOA Watch
SOAW Chile achieved an important victory; to declassify the names of over 760 Chilean soldiers who took courses at the School of the Americas/WHINSEC during the past decade.

Image Looking Back to Move Ahead I was asked to write a piece about people of color organizing to attend the 2009 SOA Watch vigil and about our plans for 2010. I believe everything happens for a reason.
Ron Teska Ron Teska, a stone carver and organizer from Wind Ridge, Pennsylvania worked on this piece of art throughout the November Vigil weekend in Georgia.


There never was a good war or a bad peace.

- Benjamin Franklin


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