Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Congress to Vote on School of the Americas this Wednesday

The Democratic Underground documents the news from SOA Watch...
Congress is expected to vote this week on an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that would cut funding to the controversial Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA). The amendment will be offered by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA).

The SOA/WHINSEC, a military training facility for Latin American military and police, has graduated at least 11 military dictators and over 60,000 soldiers, many of which have been linked to some of the worst human rights abuses committed in Central and South America. The school made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the institution that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses committed by soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place.

Support for the former School of the Americas has significantly declined. In May, the Costa Rican government vowed to stop sending Costa Rican police to train at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). The Central American nation is the fourth country after Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela to cut ties with the school, citing its history of military intervention and human rights abuses.

On June 9, 2006, Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) introduced an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill that would have cut funding for the SOA/WHINSEC. While the amendment failed by a 15 vote margin, 35 Representatives who opposed the amendment lost their seats in the 2006 mid-term elections.

Protests calling for the closure of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC have taken place at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia every November since 1990. The annual vigil and nonviolent direct action coincides with the November 16 anniversary of the University of Central America massacre during which SOA graduates assassinated 14-year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and six Jesuit priests in San Salvador

Please Take Action and contact your Representative and urge her/him to support the McGovern amendment to cut funding for the SOA/WHINSEC - www.soaw.org/legislative

Find out more about the School of Americas at- www.soaw.org
LINK: Congress to Vote on School of the Americas this Wed

LINK: SOAW: Legislative Action Index

No Mas! No More!
Call you legislators!

-Mr. Joseph

P.S. I am currently working on a documentary regarding the School of the Americas. Please help to take action!

UPDATE (6/27/07):
Son of a bitch, we lost by six votes...
LINK: 203:214 = SOA/WHINSEC Survives Vote in Congress by a 6 Vote Margin

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