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Mar 20th
ˇPresente! Home
2008 Elections PDF Print E-mail
Written by Eric LeCompte, SOA Watch   
Over the next months, presidential, house and senate campaigns will heat up. For SOA Watch, this is a critical time to influence candidates as they fight for your vote.
bird-dog also bird·dog (bûrddôg, -dg)
v. bird-dogged, bird-dog·ging, bird-dogs Informal
To follow a subject of interest, such as a person or trend, with persistent attention.
1. To observe or follow closely; monitor: Activists bird-dogged the Representative's movements.
2. To seek out (talent or clients, for example): bird-dogs recruits for the team

Obama and ClintonOver the next months, presidential, House and Senate campaigns will heat up. For SOA Watch, this is a critical time to influence candidates as they fight for your vote. Being present where candidates speak and rigorously pressuring them are tools  that we have at our disposal to reach our goals of winning the last seven votes we need for a victory in the House and electing a pro-SOA Watch Senate majority and a President who has the ability to close the SOA/WHINSEC. Following candidates where they make public appearances, holding signs and asking questions that pressure them into taking a pro-SOA Watch stance – commonly referred to as “bird-dogging” — is a tactic that many SOA Watchers have used throughout the history of the campaign to close the SOA.

In the previous election cycles, SOA Watch bird-doggers had a major impact on preventing the presidential candidacy of General Wesley ClarkGeneral Wesley Clark who was in favor of the SOA/WHINSEC and other birddogging efforts sent new members of Congress to Washington with a commitment to close the SOA.

Already during caucuses and primaries in this election cycle, SOA Watch bird-doggers have shown up with signs, banners and questions to encourage candidates to make public stances on closing the SOA/WHINSEC.

Approaching presidential candidates also gives us another opportunity to educate people all around the country, as their public appearances have a national following. A presidential candidate who believes that the SOA should be closed will have the ability to immediately cease operations at the SOA through executive order if elected.  Already, our efforts Roy Bourgeois, Dennis Kucinich, Maya Rodriguezhave procured clear stances to close the SOA by presidential candidates Representative Dennis Kucinich (D) and Representative Ron Paul (R).

When approaching presidential and congressional candidates, it’s important to let them know the depth of support that SOA/WHINSEC closure has among churches, political groups and unions. The AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the United Auto Workers, the United Steelworkers, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, the NAACP, the United Methodist Church, the Presbyterian Church, the United Church of Christ and over 100 U.S. Catholic Bishops all advocate the institute’s closure.

Many candidates are not aware of the strength of our support, and just sharing this information can help persuade a candidate to take a stand for justice, a stand to close the SOA.

To learn more about bird-dogging and questioning candidates, visit www.SOAW.org and look in the Legislative Action Index to find an incredible packet on how to approach, bird-dog and influence candidates. On our web page under “Statements of Support” you can find a full list of all of the local, regional and national groups that have passed resolutions calling for the school’s closure.
Good luck in the field, and please call or email the national office and let us know how you are “dogging” the candidates.

Click here to download the Elections Organizing Packet.  

Published in the Spring 2008 issue. 

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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
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.

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.


You can't shake hands with a clenched fist.

- Indira Gandhi


Book Tip

Disturbing the Peace book cover



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

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