Fight Back News Service is circulating the following call from the Colombia Action Network to demonstrate at the School of the Americas.: Protest at School of the Americas Nov. 21-23
Join the Colombia Action Network at the School of the Americas Demonstration! Ft. Benning, GA, November 21-23, 2008
Help us shut down the School of the Americas (SOA) this November! The SOA is a U.S. tax payer funded combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. Frequently called the “School of Assassins,” its graduates have left a trail of terror and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned. Over its 61 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, psychological warfare, and interrogation tactics. SOA graduates have consistently used their skills to wage war against social movements and progressive communities in their own countries. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are trade unionists, human rights workers, teachers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. SOA training manuals made public in 1996 revealed that torture, extortion, and kidnapping are part of the curriculum. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and displaced by those trained at the SOA.
Colombia has sent more troops to train at the SOA than any other Latin American country. The 1993 human rights report “State Terrorism in Colombia” issued by Pax Chirsti cites 247 Colombian officers for human rights violations. One half of those cited were SOA graduates. Some were even featured as guest speakers or instructors or included in the “Hall of Fame” after their involvement in massacres. For example, Gen. Farouk Yanine Diaz was a guest speaker at the school in 1990 and 1991 after his involvement in the 1988 Uraba massacre of 20 banana workers, the assassination of the mayor of Sabana de Torres, and the massacre of 19 businessmen. SOA graduates have been linked to some of Colombia's most heinous massacres, including in Segovia (1988) in which 43 people were killed, the Trujillo chainsaw massacres (1988-91), and Riofrio massacre (1993). The Colombian legislature even agrees that a military officer was sent to the SOA to avoid having to answer questions about the Fusagauga massacre of a campesino family.
Every November, thousands gather at Fort Benning to demand two things: the immediate closure of the School of the Americas and a drastic change in the oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the SOA represents. This year's demonstration will be held Nov 22-23. Events on Friday and Saturday include street theater, concerts, speakers, film showings, and networking opportunities. Sunday's program includes a solemn procession to the gates of Ft. Benning and a reading of names of those victimized by SOA graduates.
Join activists from the Colombia Action Network as we participate in the movement to close the SOA! We would love to see you there! More information about the SOA and the demonstration can be found at soaw.org.