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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!

Email your Representatives: The Humanitarian Crisis is a Foreign Policy Crisis PDF Print E-mail
The Root Causes of Migration: End U.S. Funding of the Drug War and the Corrupt Honduran Regime

The heartbreaking stories emanating from the immigration detention centers near the border have rightly been making the news. However the U.S. media has largely ignored the real lessons from the increasing number of Unaccompanied Minors being detained near the U.S. border. This “humanitarian crisis” has not been caused by the criminal nature of the people of Central America, irresponsible parenting, or the clichéd pursuit of the “American Dream”. Children and their families are coming to the U.S. to survive. At its root, they are too often trying to escape the devastating consequences of past and present U.S. foreign policy in the region.

CLICK HERE to urge your Senator and Representative to end the counterproductive funding of the Drug War and the corrupt Honduran Regime

The number of children attempting to cross the border into the United States has risen dramatically in the last five years: In FY 2009, roughly 6,000 unaccompanied minors were detained near the border. Credible estimates project that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will detain as many as 74,000 unaccompanied minors by the end of FY 2014. Approximately 28% of the children detained this year are from Honduras, 24% from Guatemala, and 21% from El Salvador.The particularly severe increases in Honduran migration are a direct result of the June 28, 2009 SOA-graduate led coup, the abusive policies of the resulting Honduran regimes, and the shameful U.S. support for these corrupt governments that emerged after dubious elections in 2009 and 2013.

Since 2008, the U.S. has spent over $800 million in security aid to Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador through the “Central American Regional Security Initiative” (CARSI) in addition to millions more in bilateral military and police aid to each country. The current humanitarian crisis on the border, is a direct result of the drastic U.S.-led militarization of the drug war, unequal economic relationships (e.g. Free Trade Agreements that have ravaged campesino communities), and U.S. support for the cartel-infiltrated post-coup government of Honduras.

By every conceivable measure - the availability of drugs, mass incarceration, mass immigrant detention, and the effective use of tax money in the U.S.; homicide and violence rates, corruption, the overall power of drug cartels, and migration rates in Central America – the "war on drugs" has been an abject and costly failure. It is time, it has been time, for the U.S. government to take real responsibility for its role in the root causes of migration from Central America. The region will never be “cured” of its ills without an honest, fact-based re-evaluation and a resulting re-implementation of U.S. foreign policy.

CLICK HERE to urge your Senator and Representative to end the counterproductive funding of the Drug War and the corrupt Honduran Regime

The patterns of violence and forced migration established during the dirty wars of the 20th century have continued unabated. It is no surprise that Central American children travel alone to the U.S. to escape violence, especially if one or both of their parents already live there.

Increased militarization under the pretext of the drug war has led to massive human rights violations, including illegal land grabs, and the persecution of indigenous and grassroots leaders, too often at the hands of the military and police funded and trained (many at the School of the Americas) under U.S. security programs. In particular, the situation in Honduras has dramatically deteriorated, yet the U.S. continues to fund the corrupt and brutal Honduran security forces 5 years after the June 28, 2009 SOA-graduate led military coup. Why should the people of Central America continue to suffer and be scapegoated when the root causes of migration are all too often created by damaging U.S. foreign policies?

Peace and struggle,
SOA Watch
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.

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