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Legislative Action
Click here for updates on current legislation to close the SOA/ WHINSEC, tips on lobbying your Members of Congress and more!

Tuesday, April 1: Call Your Member of Congress Today! PDF Print E-mail
Join us in storming the halls and phone lines of Congress to demand justice for the people of Latin America.

Throughout today and tomorrow, activists from around the United States are visiting their Member of Congress in Washington, DC, asking that they co-sponsor HR 2989, the bill to suspend and investigate the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas.

The effectiveness of those walking the hallways of Congress will multiply if simultaneously we storm the phone lines (Congressional switch board: 202-224-3121) to send a clear message to our Representatives in Congress, that we need them to take a stand for peace and human rights, and support HR2989. Click here for a sample call script. (If you have questions, read the Frequestly Asked Questions about Calling Congress.)

Your voices and your emails make a difference. Two weeks ago we asked that you urge the Obama administration to officially recognize the electoral victory of El Salvador's President Sanchez Ceren. Your 3,673 emails that reached 418 of 535 legislators had an enormous impact, along with those of other solidarity organizations. A few days later, Secretary of State Kerry congratulated President Sanchez Ceren. Opposition party ARENA followed suit in acknowledging their defeat. ARENA leaders had previously called on the armed forces to not acknowledge the election results. The danger of another coup in Latin America has - for the time being - been averted.

Stand with Venezuela
Call on your Member of Congress to also avert another treacherous road that comes in the form of newly proposed bill, HR 4229, entitled "Venezuelan Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act." This bill, whose title is the exact same as that of the Helms Burton law (substituting the word "Cuba" for "Venezuela") calls for targeted sanctions against Venezuela. While the rest of Latin America has stepped forward in a united voice to support the ongoing peace and dialog initiatives underway in Venezuela, hard line forces in South Florida are pointing the US down the dangerous and outdated path of intervention. Ask your Member of Congress to say no to HR 4229 and yes to seeking accurate information about the complex political situation in Venezuela.

May the droplets of water that represent each of our footsteps and voices form a raging river today, on whose mighty waters flows a message of justice for our Americas.

In peace and solidarity,
SOA Watch

P.S. The check out photos from the Spring Days of Action, click here! We started with a powerful Peoples Movement Assembly and a concert on Sunday. Yesterday, after the lobby trainings, we went to Takoma Park for a rally aimed at outreach to the local community. The messaging was directed at two important political players with ties to Takoma Park, White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, and Representative Chris Van Hollen. On Thursday, we will honor Victor Jara with a memorial forum in Maryland, and on Saturday, we'll close out the Spring Days of Action at the rally against deportations at the White House.

SOA Watch

Urge Your Members of Congress to Call on State Department to Denounce Intimidation of Human Rights Defenders PDF Print E-mail

Last week, School of the Americas (SOA) graduate and Honduran military Colonel German Alfaro made outrageous accusations against a leading U.S. human rights defender, Annie Bird, Co-Director of Rights Action, which is based in Washington, DC. Alfaro declared that the military is investigating Annie for alleged subversive activities with campesinos, including filing false reports about military abuses of human rights. One of the Honduran newspapers, La Tribuna, picked up the story and even ran a picture of Annie, putting her at further risk.* The allegations are completely trumped-up and dangerous given the pattern of violence in Honduras, of which Alfaro himself is a propagator. Please email your Members of Congress and the State Department to demand that they forcefully denounce this attack on Annie Bird and other human rights defenders.

SOA Watch Advocacy Postcards PDF Print E-mail
Order a set of these Advocacy Postcards and ask your family and friends, your co-workers, members of your faith community, and others to join you in the campaign to close the SOA/ WHINSEC by signing these postcards to the White House, to your Representative in Congress and to your Senators.

Click here to order a set of 60 postcards for $5

The postcard says "Respect Our Priorities! We want money for our communities, not guns and violence in Latin America. Close the SOA/ WHINSEC!"

The text on the back of the card reads: "As you deliberate the budget, please choose to fund education, health, environmental safety, and care for our elderly over military spending.

Specifically, I urge you to work to close and investigate WHINSEC, the military training school for Latin American soldiers (aka the U.S. Army School of the Americas).

Shift the millions of drug/military dollars targeted for Latin America to urgently needed programs here at home."

The postcards also provide some basic information about the SOA/ WHINSEC.

Click here to order the postcards.

Call the White House and Tell Obama to Close the SOA PDF Print E-mail

On Tuesday, August 16th, sixty-nine members of congress officially requested that President Barack Obama sign an executive order shutting down the SOA/WHINSEC. Join the chorus by calling President Obama and telling him that you support the closure of this dangerous and unaccountable institution. Here is a short sample call script to help you get your message across.Call the White House - Tell President Obama to Close the SOA

The script will cover some of the major points, but as always, we encourage you to craft your own message.

A Possible Call to Obama Could Look Like This:

"I am calling to inform President Obama about the letter signed by 69 members of congress asking him to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly known as the School of the Americas). The existence of WHINSEC is part of a massive failure in U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. It is a symbol of oppression and U.S. domination for most Latin Americans and should be shut down without delay.

I urge you to seriously consider the request by the members of congress to shut down the school, thus saving the United States $180 million over the next decade. Closing the school would also send the message to the people of Latin America and your own citizens that you value the sovereignty and human rights of all of the peoples of the Americas.

Thank you for taking the time to listen to me and consider my appeal. I hope you make the right decision."

You can reach Pres. Obama's office at: (202) 456-1111

The Comment line is open between 9 AM and 5 PM ET.

Legislative Update PDF Print E-mail
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