H.R. 2989, the Latin America Military Training Review Act, Renews the Legislative Efforts Against Notorious U.S. Military Training Institute
Due to constituent pressure and the steadfast commitment of the movement to close the School of the America, we secured 40 ORIGINAL co-sponsors for (H.R. 2989) the Latin America Military Training Review Act - the bill to suspend and investigate the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC)! (The list of original co-sponsors and subsequent co-sponsors is below, with Republicans italicized.)
It's a great start, but we need to keep the pressure on Congress to let them know that they have no excuse not to become cosponsors of the bill. Stress to them that this is not a partisan issue, but one of peace, human rights, and accountability.
Call the Capitol Switchboard TOLL FREE at 866-338-1015 and ask to be connected to your Representative (if you're unsure who your Representative is, the Capitol switchboard will let you know based on your ZIP code). Talk to the office of your Representative and ask that they become a co-sponsor of H.R. 2989 - the Latin America Military Training Review Act, which has now been introduced to the Armed Services Committee by Repsresentatives Jim McGovern, John Lewis, and the others below. If your Representative is one of those listed below, please thank them for taking a stand for human rights, peace, and accountability in the Americas. Please call your Representative's office, or fill out an appointment request through their official webpage in order to meet with members of their staff in person.
Co-sponsors (As of January 2014):
1) James P. McGovern (MA)
2) John Lewis (GA)
3) Mike Fitzpatrick (PA)
4) John Conyers, Jr. (MI)
5) Mike Michaud (ME)
6) Keith Ellison (MN)
7) Raul Grijalva (AZ)
8) Jan Schakowsky (IL)
9) Gwen Moore (WI)
10) Donna Edwards (MD)
11) Betty McCollum (MN)
12) Peter DeFazio (OR)
13) Yvette Clarke (NY)
14) Jerrold Nadler (NY)
15) Mike Honda (CA)
16) Danny Davis (IL)
17) Rosa DeLauro (CT)
18) William Lacy Clay (MO)
19) Barbara Lee (CA)
20) Anna Eshoo (CA)
21) Tim Bishop (NY)
22) Sam Farr (CA)
23) Maxine Waters (CA)
24) Peter Welch (VT)
25) Mark Pocan (WI)
26) David Price (NC)
27) Earl Blumenauer (OR)
28) Louise Slaughter (NY)
29) Paul Tonko (NY)
30) Donald Payne, Jr. (NJ)
31) George Miller (CA)
32) John Yarmuth (KY)
33) Frederica S. Wilson (FL)
34) John Tierney (MA)
35) Jose Serrano (NY)
36) Jim McDermott (WA)
37) Jared Polis (CO)
38) Charles Rangel (NY)
39) Henry Waxman (CA)
40) Lloyd Doggett (TX)
41) Ed Pastor (AZ) (joined 09/12/2013)
42) Jared Huffman (CA) (joined 10/16/2013)
43) Steve Cohen (TN) (joined 12/02/2013)
44) Diana DeGette (CO) (joined 12/10/2013)
45) Gloria Negrette McCleod (CA) (joined 12/19/2013)
46) Michael Capuano (MA) (joined 2/25/2014)
Flexing Our Grassroots Muscle!
At the November 2013 Vigil, we had representation from all across the U.S. and 9 Latin American countries as we remembered those that lost their lives due to the actions of SOA graduates. From March 30 - April 3, 2014, SOA Watch activists will travel to Washington, DC, to lobby Representatives, Senators, and the Executive Branch urging them to close the SOA/WHINSEC. Late last year, 40 Representatives introduced H.R. 2989, legislation that would mandate the suspension and call for investigations of the School of Assassins. 5 more have joined since. We need to continue to build on our momentum and put pressure on other Members of Congress to also co-sponsor H.R. 2989.
You can make a difference with your Representative. Really. Getting a group of friends, family, community members, church leaders, schoolmates, etc. and taking the time to talk about the issue with the local district office via email, phone, or in person makes a big impression.
Some of the most serious issues facing the 113th Congress so far have been fiscal cliffs, debt limits, budget fights, and even the ridiculous government shutdown. Because of resistance from below, Congress and the Pentagon have been forced to consider trimming the military's bloated budget. The School of the Americas Watch movement has an important opportunity to push our lawmakers on the issue of closing the SOA/WHINSEC. We want our money going to health care, education, and just foreign policies, not war and military training.
Now is your moment to step up and be heard.
You can click here for some helpful hints for setting up a meeting with your Congress member
Also, provide your Congress member and their staffer with information they can use to make their decision:
2. SOA/WHINSEC Graduates in the News (print out some of the latest information about SOA/WHINSEC grads)
Has your Representative taken a stand against the SOA/WHINSEC in the past?
Here is a copy of HR3368 (from the 112th Congress), which will be the same text as the new bill to suspend and investigate the SOA in the 113th Congress: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr3368ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr3368ih.pdf
There is still time to order SOA Watch Advocacy postcards! These postcards are great to get members of your community to sign and send in to your Representatives and Senators. Every time they get a postcard, it keeps the issue on their desk. So when times comes for a bill, they will know that people in their district care about closing the SOA/WHINSEC.
As justice and peace activists, and specifically anti-militarization activists working to close down the SOA/WHINSEC, we have a duty to encourage our representatives to choose the right path. An anti-militarization struggle, in our times, will NEVER be easy, but since we know that our actions today will lead to gains tomorrow, we must persevere and work on multiple fronts. Our lobbying efforts should be interconnected with our mass mobilizing efforts, our research efforts, and efforts from Latin America to fight imperialism and intervention.
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