Saturday, April 22, 2006

School of the Americas

The School of the Americas:
The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

SOA Watch Lobby Days in Washington, DC are April 23-25. Your Congressional Representatives and Senators need to hear from you! If you cannot come to Washington, DC this April to demand that Congress close the SOA/WHINSEC so that no more killers will be trained, that no more families will lose their loved ones and that no more people have to go to prison for speaking out against this notorious school, then at least write a letter or make a telephone call to your Congressional representatives and urge them to close the school. You can learn more here.