For Immediate Release
Nico Udu-Gama, SOA Watch
SOA Watch Activist Nashua Chantal Faces Six Months in Prison for Protest Against the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)
COLUMBUS, Georgia - Nashua Chantal, a resident of Americus, Georgia, is facing trial on Wednesday, March 13, 2013 for crossing over the barb-wired fence onto the Fort Benning military base during a protest to close the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) on November 18, 2012. Nashua is facing up to six months in federal prison for his act of civil disobedience.
The SOA/WHINSEC is a military training facility that has turned out some of Latin America's most notorious killers and continues to be implicated in human rights abuses today.
On Wednesday, March 13, at 9:15am at the Columbus Courthouse (120 12th Street, Columbus, Georgia 31902) School of the Americas Watch will host a press conference prior to the 10am trial. In accompaniment will be Edward Dubose of the NAACP and Anton Flores, co-founder of the immigrant advocacy group Alterna Community.
Nashua Chantal’s dedication to the movement to close the SOA/WHINSEC is as strong as ever. In a statement regarding his coming sentence, issued last year, he stated “…it’s not what goes on in between these walls with which I have a hard time. It’s the training at Fort Benning that must be ended.”
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Last year’s mobilization included a rally on Saturday, November 17, where thousands came together at the gates of the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC), and culminated on Sunday, November 18 with a symbolic funeral procession to commemorate the victims of SOA/ WHINSEC violence and U.S. militarization. It was during the procession that Chantal carried his message—“Study war no more”—onto the grounds of the base.
In March of this year, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) will introduce legislation to suspend operations at the school and investigate human rights abuses in Latin America.
The SOA/WHINSEC is a U.S. taxpayer-funded military training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. The school made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this, no independent investigation into the training facility has ever taken place.
SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works to close the School of the Americas and change U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America. For more information, 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.