Bishops' Resolution to Close the SOA Print

Resolution to Close the School of the Americas


As a US Catholic Bishop, I am writing to express my profound moral concern about the continued existence of the U.S. Army School of the Americas, located at the Fort Benning military base in Georgia.

WHEREAS, the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) has trained over 50,000 Latin American military officers, and

WHEREAS, to date, it has been documented that hundreds of SOA graduates, among them being leaders of death squads, have committed human rights violations including orchestrating coups against democratically elected governments, and participating in the genocide of entire villages, and

WHEREAS, in El Salvador, nineteen of the twenty-six soldiers involved in the murder of 6 Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her fifteen-year-old daughter, two of the three cited in the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and three of the five responsible for the rape and murder of 4 U.S. churchwomen were trained at the SOA, and

WHEREAS, the Pentagon has admitted that for years the SOA used training manuals which advocated torture, execution, blackmail, and false imprisonment, and

WHEREAS, United Nations human rights observers, church groups, government officials, and peasant organizations have connected SOA graduates to murders, rapes, kidnappings, drug trafficking, torture, and other atrocities in Latin America involving thousands of innocent civilians, and

WHEREAS, more than seventy percent of the El Salvadoran military officers cited in the United Nations 1993 Truth Commission report on human rights were SOA graduates, and

WHEREAS, more than fifty percent of the 247 military officers implicated by the international human rights tribunal in Colombia were graduates of the SOA, and

WHEREAS, the track record of the SOA proves that it undermines democracy, stability, economic justice, and basic human rights, and

WHEREAS, as followers of Christ, we are called to be healers and peacemakers in our world, and we embrace the words of our brother Archbishop Romero, who stated "We who have a voice, must speak for the voiceless." Therefore,

I express support for my oppressed brothers and sisters throughout Latin America, and do urge the United States Congress and members of the Executive Branch to immediately end all appropriations to the School of the Americas and pass legislation which will close the doors of this shameful military school forever.

U.S. Bishops calling for closure (as of May, 2009)






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Joseph
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Thomas J.
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Gerald A.
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Edward
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Joseph L.
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Thad
Michael
Roger
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Thomas
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Raymond A.
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