• Narrow screen resolution
  • Wide screen resolution
  • Auto width resolution
  • Increase font size
  • Decrease font size
  • Default font size
  • default color
  • red color
  • green color
Member Area

¡Presente!

Friday
Dec 15th
¡Presente! Home
Building a Cross-Continental Movement PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Sullivan   
In June 2010, grassroots activists from across the Americas will come together in Venezuela.

Representatives from 16 Latin American countries will join an equal number of representatives from North American SOA Watch grassroots groups.

This South-North SOA Watch Encuentro will connect activists from both sides of the Rio Grande to find ways to work together to close the SOA, while opening new doors of relating to one another with dignity.

ImageThis gathering builds upon the efforts of SOA Watch’s Partnership America Latina (PAL), an initiative that seeks to connect the SOA Watch movement in North with those affected by the school in the South.  From 2006 to 2009, PAL organized SOA Watch delegations to 16 Latin American countries that were sending troops to the SOA. These visits led to meetings with 8 Latin American presidents, 13 Defense Ministers and with scores of individuals who had suffered at the hands of SOA graduates. It also led to profound connections with grassroots groups working against militarization in their countries.

These visits had significant results. Five countries announced the withdrawal of their troops from the SOA/ WHINSEC, a sixth announced a significant reduction of students, and two other countries expressed openness to withdrawing their troops in the near future. This energized the SOA Watch movement and affirmed the importance of working together - South and North, to close the school.

It also brought the attention of those who run the SOA.  Pressure from the U.S. government was put on one country to reconsider their public commitment of withdrawal. Activists from the South saw this as a call to organize rather than lament, stating that while politicians, presidents and promises come and go, a strong grassroots movement is far more difficult to erase.

Bertha Oliva
Bertha Oliva of COFADEH will be part of the Encuentro
Among those who will represent their country at the Encuentro is Bertha Oliva. Bertha is the director of the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared (COFADEH), a human rights organization that she helped to found after her husband was “disappeared” in Honduras by SOA graduates in the 80’s. Thirty years later, Bertha finds herself once again accompanying families who are burying their dead, killed at the hands of SOA graduates who recently orchestrated a coup in her country. The urgency that Latin Americans feel about closing the school will find expression in the participation of representatives such as Bertha.

One of the representatives of grassroots SOA Watch groups in the North is Laura Slattery. After studying war for 4 years at West Point, then working as an Army officer for several years more, Laura decided to devote her life to peace. This commitment to peace led her to leave her military uniform at the gate of the SOA and cross the line, resulting in a six-month sentence in a federal prison. Laura’s presence at the Encuentro, and that of other prisoners of conscience, will be a powerful witness to the level of personal commitment of many to the struggle to close the SOA.

At a recent PAL delegation to Paraguay, a meeting took place with the Defense Minister.  Accompanying the group was Dr. Martin Almada, an educator who was tortured and imprisoned for several years at the hands of Paraguayan SOA graduates. His wife died of a heart attack after listening to his screams as he was being tortured. As the meeting began, Dr. Almada quietly told the Defense Minister: “between you and me lies a river of blood.

As I listened to his words, I realized that a similar river of blood has also separated the Americas for too many years. And, it has been made deeper, wider and bloodier by the existence of the SOA. Perhaps the South-North SOA Watch Encuentro might be one small step towards purifying those waters, and laying a few stones for the foundations for a bridge.

At the same meeting, Dr. Almada added: “It´s not enough to just close the SOA.We must now open another kind of School of the Americas, or better yet, Schools of the Americas. So much money, so much effort, to teach others how to torture. Now, we need to teach one another how to live. I will bring these words and this hope to the Encuentro.

Hits: 44440
Comments (2)Add Comment
Connecting the USSF and the SOA Watch Encuentro
written by SOA Watch, February 07, 2010
The United States Social Forum (USSF) is taking place from June 22-26, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan. The USSF will bring together grassroots groups to develop collective consciousness, vision, and strategies needed to realize another world. The Social Forum is coinciding with the SOA Watch Encuentro in Venezuela. The organizers of both gatherings are working to connect the two historic events.
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +4
Cerremos la Escuela de las Américas en Fort Benning,GA
written by Gerardo Brenes, April 12, 2010
Soy de Costa Rica y egresado de la SOA en Fort Benning,Ga.Reciban Muchas Bendiciones.Debemos estar unidos y decir ¡BASTA YA,JUNTOS CERREMOS LA ESCUELA DE LAS AMERICAS!.Costa Rica continúa enviando a nuestros POLICIAS a entrenarse militarmente a la SOA,y en nuestro país se abolío el ejército el 01 de Diciembre 1949.Hace 51 años y tenemos un "Premio Nobel de la Paz".Y denuncio que Costa Rica continúa enviando policías a entrenarse militarmente a U.S.A. en la Escuela de las Américas.Favor ver en youtube "Costa Rica y la Escuela de las Américas".Soy egresado de Curdo de Don de Mando Militar en 1985 y etc.Con gusto me pueden escribir a This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it y con les responderé sus consultas al respecto .Gracias . Gerardo Brenes Ex-Policía-Militar en Costa Rica
report abuse
vote down
vote up
Votes: +3

Write comment
smaller | bigger

security code
Write the displayed characters


busy
 
< Prev   Next >
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.

Read more...
 
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.
 
Survivors
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?
Legislation
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
SOA Watch Chile Declassified List with Names of WHINSEC Graduates

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.

Anti-Oppression
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.
 
Artists
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.
 
Advertisement

Quote

Walk the street with us into history. Get off the sidewalk.

- Dolores Huerta
 

Search

Book Tip

Cover of Leslie Gill's book
 

Syndicate

Connect

flickr  facebook MySpace twitter YouTube

Reviews

On the Line

On the Line  

A challenging new documentary has quickly become one of the widest-reaching films to encapsulate the history of the SOA Watch movement.

Taxi to the Dark SideTaxi to the Dark Side

An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

MORE REVIEWS...

Poll

Which part of the campaign to close the SOA are you most interested in?
 

Who's Online

We have 4 guests online

Distribute

Newspaper Delivery
Educate your community. 

Advertise

Advertise
Place your ad in ¡Presente! 

Donate

Piggy Bank
We rely on donations from supporters like you.

Contact Us

Contact Us
Complaints, suggestions, feedback or ideas?