For Immediate Release

Organization Profile: 
Contact: 

Hendrik Voss
202-234-3440,
media@soaw.org

Mass Mobilization to Shut Down the School of the Americas

November 20-22, 2009, Fort Benning, Georgia

Fort Benning, GA - The military coup led by SOA graduates in Honduras has once again
exposed the destabilizing and deadly effects that the School of the
Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) has on Latin America. Torture survivors and
human rights activists from across the Americas, including Bertha
Oliva, the founder of the Committee of the Family Members of the
Disappeared (COFADEH) from Honduras and human rights defenders from
Colombia will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia to participate in the
mobilization.

  • The SOA graduate-led military coup in Honduras and the
    increasing U.S. military involvement in Colombia put a renewed focus on
    the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) and the policies it
    represents.
  • Thousands from across the Americas will converge on
    November 20-22 at Fort Benning, GA for a vigil and civil disobedience
    actions to speak out against the SOA/ WHINSEC and to demand a change in
    U.S. foreign policy.
  • The vigil will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the
    1989 SOA graduate-led Jesuit massacre in San Salvador, and the many
    other thousands of victims of SOA/ WHINSEC violence.

The campaign to close the SOA/ WHINSEC is in a crucial phase right now.
Despite promising comments from President Obama during his 2008
election campaign, the SOA/ WHINSEC is still in operation, the U.S. is
pouring millions into failing "military solutions" to combat the drug
problems in Mexico and the Pentagon is moving forward with plans to use
seven Colombian military bases in Colombia for offensive U.S. military
operations.

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"It is up to us to hold those responsible accountable and to push for
to closing of the School of the Americas and a change in US foreign
policy" said Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch. "Too many
have died and continue to suffer at the hands of graduates of this
notorious institute."

In the fall of 2009, opponents of the SOA/ WHINSEC achieved a victory
when a joint House and Senate conference committee agreed to include
language in the FY 2010 Defense Authorization bill that requires the
Pentagon to release names of the graduates of the SOA/ WHINSEC to the
public. The Pentagon had classified the names after the continued
involvement of SOA/ WHINSEC attendees in human rights abuses became
public.

For more information about the November vigil
to close the SOA/ WHINSEC, lead-up actions and a complete schedule of
events, visit www.SOAW.org

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SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.

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