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Home Action Legislative Action Resources Sample Letter to Senator
Sample Letter to Senator PDF Print E-mail
This is just an example of the kind of letter you could write. It’s a great idea to personalize the letter, to be specific about your reasons to close the school while appealing to the issues that are important to your Members of Congress. The most important part of the letter is to clearly state what it is you want the member to do and why. It is also a good idea to emphasize if you are a constituent and to mention larger groups you are a part of and/or directly represent (i.e. church, parish, professional association, alumni group, labor union, etc).

For a more effective response from your Member of Congress, follow-up with a phone call to the office and speak directly with the staffer who handles foreign policy issues. Consult the SOA Watch website, www.soaw.org, for talking points, recent news stories and legislative updates. Call (202) 234-3440 if you have questions or can’t access the web.



The Honorable [full name]
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator [last name]:

I am writing to urge you to support human rights in Latin America by supporting legislative efforts to close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the United States Army School of the Americas (SOA). The graduates of this institution have a long history of human rights violations. From the atrocities in El Salvador and Guatemala in the 1980's, to recent violations in Colombia, SOA/WHINSEC graduates consistently appear in reports on human rights abuses in Latin America. SOA/WHINSEC training has resulted in civilian massacres, assassinations, disappearances, death threats and has led to both attempted and successful coups of democratically elected governments in the hemisphere. Recently, it was uncovered that WHINSEC has trained known human rights abusers, despite the congressionally mandated vetting of potential students.

Despite efforts to silence opposition to the Ft. Benning-based training school through a name change and cosmetic changes, it is still a combat training school that provides dangerous skills and weaponry to countries with serious current human rights problems. The proliferation of skills like counter-insurgency and psychological warfare in countries like Colombia, where impunity is offered to paramilitaries, only perpetuates the cycles of violence. Keeping the school open under any name sends a powerful anti-human rights message. Establishing reasonable living conditions for the people of Latin America and strengthening civil institutions will do more to stabilize the region than training militaries. Closing the SOA/WHINSEC, whatever its name, would demonstrate that the United States has made a clean break from the tragic history of the school and its graduates.

Currently there are over 100 bi-partisan co-sponsors of HR 1217 in the House. As your constituent, I urge you to stand up and introduce companion legislation in the Senate. Contact the Legislative Coordinator in the SOA Watch?s National Office to discuss this further, (202) 234-3440.

Please send me a letter with your position on this issue. Thank you for your time and commitment to this important matter.


[Your full name; Group, if applicable; Full Address; Phone; Email]

Please send a copy of any response you receive to SOA Watch: PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017; fax: (202) 636-4505.


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phone: 202-234-3440
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