SOAWatch Update / SOAWatch.org – 2006-03-29 23:35:58
Argentina, Uruguay Abandon School of the Americas
SOAWatch Update / SOAWatch.org
WASHINGTON (March 28, 2006) — We are thrilled to tell you that, after meeting with representatives of human rights organizations and the three SOA Watch activists Carlos Mauricio, Lisa Sullivan and Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the governments of Argentina and Uruguay have agreed to stop sending soldiers to train at the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)!
These decisions are a critical victory for all those struggling for human rights, justice and military accountability across the Americas! Argentina and Uruguay are the second and third countries to take this vital step; they join Venezuela, which announced in January of 2004 that they would no longer send soldiers to the school.
This past Friday, Roy, Carlos and Lisa met with the Defense Minister of Uruguay, Azucena Berrutti. Minister Berrutti is a former human rights lawyer. During the long dictatorship in Uruguay she defended numerous political prisoners.
Lisa Sullivan writes: “From the beginning of the conversation, Minister Berrutti told us that there was no need to explain the atrocities of the SOA, as she, and the people of Uruguay, were fully aware of this reality, having experienced first hand the horrors of the tortures, detentions, imprisonments and ‘disappearances’ caused by its graduates.
Over and over here in Latin America we have been humbled and realize that we do not need to explain these things to our public, but rather they have much to tell us, to put faces and emotions on the statistics which we have memorized so efficiently….”Minister Berrutti shared with Carlos, Lisa and Roy some very good news: during the year President Tabaré; Vázquez has been in office, no military personnel from Uruguay have been sent to the SOA, and none will be sent under this current administration.
Yesterday, the three SOA Watch activists and the head of the Mothers of the Disappeared met with the defense minister, Nilda Garré, whose husband was disappeared during the repression in Argentina.
Minister Garrê agreed that after the one Argentinean soldier currently at the SOA/ WHINSEC finishes his classes, no more Argentinean soldiers will be sent to the School of the Americas. Read the whole update from Lisa, Carlos & Roy.
The tide is turning in Latin America! All across Central and South America, governments and citizens are rejecting SOA-style military “solutions” to social problems. Across the Americas, support for the School of the Americas is eroding every day.
• Add your voice to this movement for justice! March, rally and lobby to close the SOA in Washington, DC April 23-25! (see below for more info).
March, rally and lobby to close the SOA April 23-25 in Washington, DC
We are riding a tide of momentum as we prepare for our Spring Lobby Days! From Argentina and Uruguay to the incredible movement we’ve seen in support of immigrant rights, now is the time to take our message to Capitol Hill.
Join us in DC from April 23-25 as we tell Congress to close the School of the Americas once and for all! Let’s ride this tide and flood the halls of Congress with justice.
On Sunday, April 23, we’ll gather for a day of legislative trainings, workshops and a talk from Father Roy. On Monday, April 24, we’ll process to Capitol Hill, hold a brief rally and meet with Members of Congress. We’ll continue to hold Congressional meetings on Tuesday, April 25.
Hundreds of Thousands Mobilize
to Support Immigrant Rights
Yesterday tens of thousands of students walked out of school in California and other states in a second week of massive protests across the United States against legislation to crack down on illegal immigrants.
Hundreds of thousands of immigrants and supporters participated in enormous and energetic marches in Los Angeles, Chicago, Milwaukee, Phoenix, Boulder, Washington, DC and other cities to protest a bill that would make it a felony to be in this country illegally and would make it crime to dispense aid to those without legal documents.
Broad-based coalitions of faith, labor, business and community leaders have come together to oppose this bill and to call for the creation of a path to citizenship for immigrants.
In several US cities, the massive marches of the past two weeks are the largest public gatherings ever to occur in those communities. The outpouring of opposition to the conservative bill has been historic.
SOA Watch understands that many immigrants to the United States are victims of US-sponsored military training and atrocities in Latin America.
In our fight to close the SOA, we continue to work towards a world that is free of suffering and violence. We recognize the SOA as being a part of the same racist system of violence and domination. We ally ourselves with the victims of military violence and their families in our effort to create a better world.
SOAWatch, PO Box 4566 Washington, District of Columbia 20017 United States