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Home Action Action History 2006 Hemisphere-Wide Actions to Close the SOA/WHINSEC
Hemisphere-Wide Actions to Close the SOA/WHINSEC PDF Print E-mail
On the weekend of November 17-19, 2006, simultaneous demonstrations took place in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bolivia; El Salvador; three cities in Ecuador; Paraguay; Santiago, Chile; eleven cities in Colombia; Dublin, Ireland; Toronto,Canada; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; and in Davis, California!

Thousands of people raised their voices, calling for a world free of militarism and the SOA/WHINSEC.

Click here for a map of the events that were coordinated by Cristian@s por la Paz

The Movimiento Continental de Cristian@s por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad (Continental Movement of Christians for Peace with Justice and Dignity, or MCCPJD) organized a series of hemisphere-wide public witnesses to take place in Bogota, Colombia; Manta, Ecuador; San Salvador, El Salvador; and Buenos Aires, Argentina. Groups in the four countries held reflective services, teach-ins and cultural events, and on Sunday, November 19, thousands gathered publicly to call for alternatives to U.S. militarism.

In El Salvador, the demonstration focused on connections between the ILEA, the new U.S.-funded policy academy, and the SOA. In other countries, groups gathered at U.S. military bases and public parks to call for the closure of the SOA and the end of U.S. military intervention in their countries.

In Santiago, Chile, the human rights organization "Observadores de la Escuela de las Americas" (SOA Watch Chile) has been campaigning and organizing so that Chile stops sending troops to be trained at the SOA/WHINSEC. They organized a full week of events, including screenings of "Hidden in Plain Sight", workshops, discussion panels, a march and then delivered a letter to president Bachelet demanding that Chile cease sending troops to the SOA/WHINSEC.

In the lead-up to these exciting demonstrations, organizers across the hemisphere circulated petitions to the people of the United States and to the U.S. Congress asking for the closure of the School of the Americas and for a dramatic shift in U.S. policy towards Latin America.

On the weekend of the November Vigils, groups in the United States, Canada and Ireland also gathered at Arizona?s Fort Huachuca; in Davis, California; Toronto, Canada and Dublin, Ireland in solidarity vigils. This November we gathered around the hemisphere in numbers too big to be ignored!

Buenos Aires, Argentina ? November 18, 2006

Time: 6:30 pm
Place: The Parque Lezama Amphitheatre (intersecion of Brazil St.and Paseo Col?n)
Theme: Resisting imperialistic and militaristic policies that threaten the rights of our people to self determination and to live in peace.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo P?rez Esquivel, the Madres de Plaza de Mayo and a variety of musicians were present.
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Link: http://www.fotolog.net/cristianos

Vigil for Peace and non-violent protest against the militarization of Latin America in coordination with Movimiento Continental de Cristianos por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad.

Report: Human rights activists and religious workers of different congregations heard testimonies from Paraguay, Haiti and Palestine, which were accompanied by a photographic display. The Madres de Plaza de Mayo were also present. Candles were lit as the names of victims were mentioned, forming the word peace, which is our utopia and our responsability.

Find out more at CristianosPorLaPaz

Santiago, Chile ? November 18-20, 2006

- Saturday 18th ? 11 am @ Pza de Armas, Santiago
March against the SOA/WHINSEC organized by the Observadores de la Escuela de las Americas.

Protestors marched down Alameda, the cities main downtown avenue demanding that Chile cease sending troops to the SOA/WHINSEC and in solidarity with the people of El Salvador, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador and the vigil at Ft. Benning.

While marching, protestors carried crosses with the names of countries and victims of SOA/WHINSEC sponsored violence, they were accompanied by jesuit priest Jose Aldunate and Bolivan senator Antonio Peredo who was visiting Chile.

- Monday 20th ? 11 am
Observadores de la Escuela de las Americas will deliver a letter to President Michelle Bachelet at the Palacio la Moneda requesting her to cease sending Chileans to be trained at the SOA/WHINSEC.

Find out more at ObservadoresChile.

Read the solidarity statement from organizers in Peru.

Cochabamba, Bolivia - November 20th, 2006

March and convergence at Plaza Principal 14 de Septiembre to demand the closure of the School of the Americas and an end to all military training such as the kind that goes on at SANANDITA in Bolivia, which is a replica of the SOA. We will also demand that our government stop sending troops to be trained at the SOA/WHINSEC.

In our country, military institutions such as the SOA/WHINSEC represent dictatorships, submission, humiliation and degradation of human rights. Throughout the years all they have contributed is suffering, pain and mourning for bolivian families.

Zulema Callejas y Isabel Chuquimia


Date: Sunday November 19
Time: 9:00am ? 15:00pm
Place: Plaza de las Nieves ? Eduardo Uma?a
Theme: Military budget and war taxes. U.S. intervention and military assistance in Colombia.

Sogamoso, Boyaca
Date: Saturday November 18
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Place: Divino Ni?o Parish

Cali, Valle
Forum for Overcoming Militarism in Colombia
Date: November 13
Time: 8:00am ? 12:00pm
Place: Seminario Bautista de Cali. - Guadalupe Ave. No. 1B-112 Theme: Analysis of Colombias situation Ander Plan Colombia and the militarization of the Democractic Security policies.

Panel: Respect for Human Dignity
Date: November 15
Time: 8:00am ? 13:00pm
Place: Hemiciclo del Concejo de la ciudad de Cali.
Plazoleta del CAM. Alcald?a Municipal.
Theme: Defend our human, civilian, social, political and economic rights to build a just and equal society in peace.

Vigil for Peace
Date: November 17
Time: 4:00pm
Place: Plazoleta del CAM. - Alcald?a Mayor de Cali.
Theme: Christian Caucus at the Plaza del CAM. In support and in coordination with the different events that will take placea throughout cities in Latin America and the U.S.A.. Religious acts hosted by pastors, priests and reverends of different churches and indigenous groups.

Memorial for the Martyrs
Date: November 18
Time: 3:00pm
Place: Capilla de F?tima ? CDC - Barrio Marroqu?n II. Distrito de Aguablanca.

Medell?n, Antioquia
March and vigil for peace Date: November 18
Time: 4:00pm
Place: Iglesia San Antonio ? Junto al parque San Antonio Theme: March for peace and for demilitarization from the San Antonio Chapel to the University of San Buenaventura. Vigil for peace and against militarism.

Sit-down, 1000 women in black in memory of the victims of militarism in the region. Date: November 18
Time: 6:00 pm
Place: Avenida 52 Parque Camilo Torres Restrepo.
Theme: Memorial for the dead, disappeared and who have faced torced removal in the midst of the social, and political conflicts in the region.

Vigil for peace
Date: November 18
Time: 2:00pm
Place: Parque Central

Cultural and political teach-in for Peace
Date: November 18
Time: 3:00pm
Place: Parque central
Theme: Cultural events for life and peace.

Neiva, Huila
Vigil for Peace
Date: November 18
Time: 7:00pm
Place: Barrios del Sur gradas de timanco.
Theme: History of the invasion and military control of God?s people. A history of resistance and of Jesus as a liberator. Music and singing.

Thousands of women converged on the main avenue of Barrancabermeja ? Santander, to say No to War. Not one more woman, not one more man, not one more peso for the war! is what protestors chanted against the militarization of the region; which has seen hundreds of victims fall under paramilitary and state sponsored violence. The Organizacion Femenina Popular (Popular Femenine Organization), who led the protest, denounced the national government and its increased funding of the military budget instead of financing the real needs of the population and made a call to other social organizations and the general publico to reject the economic and militaristic policies that have further impoverished the country.

Find out more at CristianosPorLaPaz

San Salvador, El Salvador - November 18, 2006

Prayer for Peace and against all forms of Militarism Date: Saturday November 18 2006.
Time: 5:00 pm
Place: Plaza Salvador del Mundo.
Theme: ?Militarism Worldwide and its applications in El Salvador?.
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Human Chain and Cultural Festival for Peace and Against Militarism
Date: Saturday November 18 2006.
Time: All day
Place: Cuscatlan Park and Bolivar Park.
Theme: The military base at Comalapa, to demand the return of salvadoran troops in Irak and Nicaraguan solidarity.
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Report: Under a strong police presence, the Bloque Popular Social (BPS) held a protest outside of the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador protesting for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC.

Representatives of the diplomatic mission refused to receive an Open Letter from the BPS addressed to Ambassador William Barcley; "the policy of military aid that your government has provided to our country, has advocated the training in torture and counter-insurgency techniques for the sodliers who planned and executed the massacre of six jesuit priests and two Salvadoran women on November 16, 1989."

The letter also states that "the school in which these salvadoran soldiers recieved training, the School of the Americas, continues to operate under a different name and we join with thousands of U.S. citizens that on November 17 and 19 will protest at the gates of Ft. Benning, Georgia, demanding that the school be shut down."

"We act in solidarity and understand the pain and protest of the five families who have lost their loved ones, as have the hundreds of families who live in anguish since the Salvadoran government agreed to send Salvadoran troops to Irak under pressure from the Unites States." said labor leader Guadalupe Erazo.

"We are here to demand the closing of the military base in Comalapa and the ILEA, which will serve the same purpose of the SOA/WHINSEC: to train military and security personeel to torture community leaders and repress the people of El Salvador" said an FMLN representative.

Lutheran pastor, Roberto Pineda, of the Faith and Life communities informed that "the people of the americas are rising in a vigil for peace and against militarism. We are mobilizing not only here, but at as a continent. We are in Asuncion, Paraguay; in Santiago, Chile; in Buenos Aires, Argentina; in Bogot?, Colombia; in Manta, Ecuador and even in the lion's den, at Fort Benning, Georgia. We are the continental Movement of Christians for Paz with Justcie and Dignity!"

Ecuador - November 17-19, 2006

Bi-National Meeting of Cristianos/as por la Paz con Justicia y Dignidad, COLOMBIA ? ECUADOR
Date: November 17 and 18
Friday 17th: OSCUS headquarters , Olmedo Street and Garc?a Moreno
Saturday 18th: Instituto Superior de los Franciscanos, Cuenca Street ? entrance through Colegio San Andr?s, behind Iglesia San Francisco ? 7:00pm- 8:00pm - HORAS Walk through the Historic Center.

Saturday 18th: all night vigil to wait for people travelling from Quito to the provinces.
Sunday 19th, Plaza C?vica de Manta: Coordinated Action - Vigil for Peace and Against all forms of Militarism in America, represented by the military base in Manta.
IBARRA: Saturday the 18th at the Parque Pedro Moncayo.
AMBATO: Saturday the 18th at the Parque Central

Bi-National Meeting for the Identity of Our People ? November 17-18
Date: November 17- Convergence at the Tulc?n border. Cultural and produce exchange.
Time: 2:00pm
November 18: March towards the Rumichaca border.
Time: 8:00pm
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The events in Ecuador spread like wildfire and simultaneous actions took place in Tungurahua, Imbabura, Rumichaca, Quito and Manta where public actions to denounce to the people of Ecuador that militarism and arms dealing are a threat to life and the dignity and that we must all unite and demand real peace with justice and dignity.

Find out more at CristianosPorLaPaz

Asuncion, Paraguay - November 22, 2006

Debate ? Discussion on Militarism in Latin America
Date: November 22nd
Time: 6:00 pm
Lugar: Centro Franciscano Paraguayo, en Herrera 364, Asunci?n.
Convocan: Serpaj Paraguay; Movimiento Objeci?n de Conciencia (MOC-Py); Juventud Obrera Cristiana (JOC-PY); Centro Franciscano del Paraguay, y el Equipo de Paz y Ecologia de la Confederacion de Religiosos del Paraguay (Conferpar)
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Sierra Vista, Arizona ? November 19, 2006

- Vigil at the gates of Fort Huachuca ? 2:30pm ? 4pm
- Organizers: Tucson SOA Watch
- Featured Speaker: Rev. John Fife, The Raging Grannies.

Fort Huachuca, the army base in our backyard, has a long history of participation in torture. The manuals used to train Latin American soldiers in torture tactics at the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning, Georgia were created at the base and its main interrogation training facility is currently headed by Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, who is the highest ranking intelligence officer tied to the Abu Graib prison scandal.

" Report:
As more than 120 people gathered at the gate of Fort Huachuca to protest the military intelligence training that fosters torture, two Roman Catholic priests were arrested when they tried to enter the base, located in Sierra Vista, Arizona.

Franciscan Fr. Louie Vitale and Jesuit Fr. Steve Kelly intended to speak with enlisted personnel and deliver a letter to Major General Barbara Fast, commander at the post, denouncing torture and the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Major General Fast is the highest ranking intelligence officer tied to the torture at Abu Ghraib torture, yet she has never been punished. Two soldiers with ties to Fort Huachuca are among 28 implicated earlier this year in the beating deaths of two prisoners in Afghanistan in 2002.

The demonstration took place in conjunction with the annual vigil at Fort Benning, Georgia, where over 20,000 people vigiled today and at least 14 were arrested as they called for closing the infamous School of the Americas (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). Dozens of Latin American military leaders who trained at the ?School of Assassins? have since been convicted of torture, murder, and other heinous crimes in their own countries.

Frs. Vitale and Kelly walked into the base but were stopped as they approached the gatehouse. An officer from the base offered to deliver their letter to the Commander, but the priests persisted, because they also intended to speak with the service men and women receiving interrogation training at Fort Huachuca. When they were not allowed to pass, the two men knelt in prayer and were arrested. They both received a federal citation for trespass and were released without conditions, and told they should be contacted within 45 days with a court date.

For More Information please contact Jack Cohen-Joppa.

Davis, California ? November 18, 2006

- Vigil to close the SOA/WHINSEC: 4:00 pm, Davis United Methodist Church - 1620 Anderson Rd.

Special guest: CHARLIE LITEKY. Liteky is a Vietnam War Congressional Medal of Honor winner who is well known for his protests at the SOA (former U.S. Army School of the Americas), having served eighteen months in federal prison for his two non-violent, civil disobedience actions protesting the former SOA.

Following the talk by Liteky, at 5 pm, a brief candlelight procession will be held. The vigil is in solidarity with the School of Americas/WHINSEC demonstration at Ft. Benning, GA.

For information call Jean Becket (530) 756-6795 or Will Lotter (530) 756-6904.

Sponsors: Davis United Methodist Church, Davis Religious Community for Sanctuary, Freedom From War, Peace & Justice Group UU Church of Davis.

Dublin, Ireland - November 18, 2006

SOAW Solidarity Vigil at U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland - Saturday November 18th
Members of the recently acquitted Pit Stop Ploughshares and Luis Evelis Andrade Casama, president of the Organizacion Nacional Indigena de Colombia (ONIC) will be among those gathered at a solidarity vigil at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin, Ireland this Saturday 12noon-2pm.
The gathering will remember the 1989 murders of six Jesuits and two Salvadoran women by graduates of the "School of the Americas".

Ciaron O'Reilly, one of the five Ploughshares activists unanimously acquitted in July '06 of $US 2.5 million "criminal damage without lawful excuse" to a U.S. Navy war plane at Shannon Airport en route to Iraq, stated "There is a direct link between Ireland and Ft. Benning! Many of the young Americans who have passed through Ireland to kill and be killed in Iraq, came from their combat training at Ft. Benning. Ft. Benning also hosts the notorious "School of the Americas" where Central and South American soldiers are brought to the U.S. to learn ways to wage war on the poor of their own countries".

People will gather outside the U.S. Embassy in Dublin this weekend in solidarity with the tens of thousands of Americans heading to close down the SOA at Ft. Benning. One of the guests at the vigil in Dublin is Luis Evelis Andrade Casama, an indigeneous Colmbian who knows the suffering inflicted by graduates of the SOA in pursuit of U.S. profits and policies of low intensity conflict!"

Find out More at:PeaceonTrial.com

Toronto, Canada - November 19th, 2006

Toronto, Canada
Solidarity action to call on Canada to stop sending soldiers to be trained at WHINSEC/SOA - Sunday November 19th
Meeting outside Tim Hortons at southwest corner of Dundas and University at 1:00 pm. From there, people will walk to the site across the street from the U.S. Consulate to hold a short vigil and remembrance, and then distribute flyers inviting people to give the gift of peace for Christmas and to write "letters to Stephen"(Harper).

For more information contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it of the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace.


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Washington, DC 20001

phone: 202-234-3440
email: info@soaw.org