Saturday, November 12, 2011

School of Americas Watch Stand for Justice: Nov. 18-20, 2011


Converge on Ft Benning, Nov 18-20School of Americas Watch November 18-20, 2011: Fort Benning, Ga.

STAND UP FOR DIGNITY, JUSTICE, SOLIDARITY AND SELF-DETERMINATION!

Join thousands of solidarity activists, torture survivors, union workers, people of faith, students, immigrants, veterans and others from November 18-20, 2011 at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to take a stand for justice, to close the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)
and to resist U.S. militarization.
Resistance is Fun!This December will mark the 30th anniversary of the massacre of close to 800 indigenous villagers in the El Mozote region of El Salvador. Still, graduates of the SOA are leading the repression, killing hundreds and displacing thousands of Hondurans. Mexicans and immigrants passing through Mexico are the target of drug cartels and death squads like the "Zetas" - another product of SOA training. In the midst of the continuing war in Colombia, fueled by SOA violence, killings of trade union activists touched 51 in 2010.
In Guatemala, General Mario Fuentes Lopez was arrested for genocide against that country's indigenous people in the 1980s; General Fuentes Lopez was a graduate of the SOA. Pedro Pimentel Rios, a member of the notorious Kaibiles (Guatemalan Special Forces), who was became an instructor one month after his participation in the Dos Erres massacre in 1982, was arrested and extradited to Guatemala. A member of the Zetas and former Mexican Special Forces member, Jesus Enrique Rejón Aguilar, was arrested and confessed that he helped to recruit Mexican Special Forces members trained at Ft. Benning.
NOW IS THE TIME to push Congress and the White House to cut spending in the right places. The U.S. Army School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), the Pentagon's flagship training school for Latin American militaries on the grounds of Fort Benning, Georgia, continues to train the military muscle to protect the status quo for the elites. Over the past several years, the Pentagon has all but taken over U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean. The U.S. military is building new military bases throughout Latin America, and "military solutions" are being propagated for everything from gang violence and the drug trade to "radical populism," the term used by the U.S. Southern Command to describe democratically elected left-leaning political leaders in the Americas. The U.S. Southern Command (SouthCom), which is responsible for all U.S. military activities in Latin America and the Caribbean has more people working on Latin America than the State Department, the Department of Commerce and the Treasury combined.

As Frederick Douglas pointed out, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." The Pentagon and the U.S. Southern Command are going to fight hard to keep all the power that they have amassed. It is up to us to build counter-power from below to challenge U.S. militarization and to ensure that our resources are invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of the training of repressive foreign militaries, war and exploitation.
Enough is enough. WE MUST CLOSE THE SOA AND END OPPRESSIVE U.S. FOREIGN POLICY. From across the hemisphere, activists will once again stand at the gates of Ft. Benning and demand a closure of the SOA/WHINSEC - under any name. We reject racist notions of "benevolent intervention" - military or otherwise - and celebrate the self-determination of the peoples of the Americas. Justice will be ours.
We are building new connections in struggle, and we invite you and your networks to accompany us again this year. Mass mobilizations of people who organize themselves to struggle collectively for a better world, are a key element for our success as a movement. The convergence at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia from November 18-20, 2011 and the march on SouthCom in October in the lead-up to the November Vigil represent the culmination of movement building that is taking place in local communities throughout the country.
This year, with anti-immigration laws like HB87 in Georgia increasing state terror in immigrant communities, the SOA Watch Vigil at Ft. Benning will make the connections between the struggle against racist immigration laws and oppressive US foreign policy in Latin America. Together, we are stronger and will create a new world.

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