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Mar 19th
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A Cry of Struggle and Hope PDF Print E-mail

By Nelly D., Sisters of Mercy Associate from Honduras

I am deeply grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the SOA Watch vigil this year.

It was a profound experience of meeting and connecting with women and men who struggle for justice and peace, and in a way makes it possible for the aspirations for freedom, respect for life and dignity of human beings to have a channel for bringing together the creative and defiant energies against this system that is a generator of death. 

I want to highlight the things that particularly touched me:

The active presence of young people renewed my hope and charged my spirit with joy and gladness. I loved especially the fluidity of the intergenerational contact: young people learning from the experiences and struggles of adults from different countries; and adults, trusting in the skills and talents of young people and contributing to the development of this event.

The women were involved in all aspects, shoulder to shoulder with the men. That was very gratifying, based on my experience in Honduras, where women have to fight to participate on an equal footing with their male peers.

The sense of being part of a people, that transcends the borders of the nation we were born into. To feel the universality of the struggle, unity in diversity and the high level of solidarity with the suffering that this militaristic ideology causes and has caused to have made death a very lucrative business. With this experience the words of Juan Ramon Moreno, one of the Jesuits murdered on November 16, 1989 (in El Salvador), echoed strongly:

“Solidarity happens when we let the pain of others be felt in our own flesh.”

Every person killed, that we named in the vigil, no matter where they were from, was not an unknown; they were a brother, a sister, hurting in the very depth of our hearts. That pain we felt and the tears that we poured out were like a seal or covenant that unites us in the struggle for life. That pain was, for me, very healing, because I felt part of a people who journey together in the building of another world, a world for everyone, women and men, a world where differences build dignity, a world where peace and justice kiss, as the prophet Isaiah says.

Participating in this vigil reaffirmed my own personal struggles and the struggle that we as the Honduran people are making to build a fatherland, or rather a motherland, that loves and cares for her children.

I returned to my country with the conviction that when people come together, when various peoples come together, that is what makes possible the transformation of realities of death into realities of life; unity is what gives strength and empowers.  This strength and this power of an organized and informed people has the capacity to break the oppressive power of death hoisted upon them.

Only the People save the People!

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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.

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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.
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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.  

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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.
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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.
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None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free.

- Goethe


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