|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.
Through the years we have felt the heart break of the people and the lands devastated by the SOA, destroyed by our economic agenda and denied self –determination through our geo-political interests in Latin America.
We have been uplifted, educated, inspired, and humbled by the movements of the Americas as we have fought together against, coups, trade agreements, environmental devastation, military training, and human rights violations.
We have seen that the infamous SOA is not just a building; it is not just a policy. The School is a mindset with roots as old as the colonization of the Americas. It is the belief that land, resources and human rights are commodities that can be bought, stolen and destroyed. In that mindset there are no ancestors, no memory, and no imagination. Inside that set of beliefs Celina, Elba and the six Jesuits were dangerous enough to assassinate but not human enough to have a right to live.
The School is in the wall being erected at the border. The SOA is in the cruel logic of Plan Colombia and Plan Mérida. The School is in NAFTA and CAFTA. The School does not stay in Columbus, Georgia, it travels far and wide in its attempt to prevent the dreams of Celina, Elba and the six Jesuits to take root and flourish, overturning a 500 year old empire.
As social movement organization with roots on both sides of the border, we have come to see that we too must be able to move. That
we too must follow the SOA as it devastates, controls and forcibly disappears. For we carry the ancestors, the memory and the imagination as antidote to empire in our voices, our songs, our direct action, our legislation, our Vigil, our Puppetistas and our hearts.
Over the past 25 years, the SOA Watch movement has grown and evolved from a handful of people who gathered at the gates of Fort Benning, to a hemisphere-wide movement. Thousands have been educated and mobilized to take a stand against empire and militarization, and against all that the SOA represents. New activists are joining long-term SOA Watch members, including many youth and students from multinational and working-class communities. Together, we can bring the antidote of the Vigil, the challenge to the SOA, to a new place.
As we inherited the dreams and strength of all those that the SOA has tried to silence, we seek your voice in planning how to move forward together. Let us know your vision for the November Vigil in 2016 at SOAW.org/border
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.
Interview 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.
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.
For more info about ¡Presente!, go to About US.
Walk the street with us into history. Get off the sidewalk.
- Dolores Huerta
A challenging new documentary has quickly become one of the
widest-reaching films to encapsulate the history of the SOA Watch
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.