STOP THE US INTERVENTION IN COLOMBIA! - SHUT DOWN THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS!
The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” is a military training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, GA.
Over its 56 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced to flee their homes by those trained at the School of Assassins.
Colombia, with over 10,000 troops trained at the SOA, is the school’s largest customer. Not surprisingly, Colombia currently has the worst human rights record in all of Latin America, averaging one massacre per day. 2,000,000 people have been killed or displaced by civilian-targeted warfare carried out by graduates of the SOA.
Unprecedented US military aid to Colombia is greatly exacerbating a brutal civil war that has been raging in Colombia for decades. Sold to the U.S. public as part of the “war on drugs”, the aid is actually being used in the same old counterinsurgency warfare SOA graduates have waged across Latin America.
Human rights reports clearly document the collaboration between the Colombian military and the right-wing paramilitary forces responsible for an increasing share of the atrocities committed against civilians. As usual, SOA graduates head the lists of perpetrators. Among many others, SOA-trained Gen. Mario Montoya Uribe, identified by Colombian newspapers as “the military official responsible for Plan Colombia” has documented ties to paramilitary atrocities dating back to the 1970’s.
Earlier this month, the Bush administration announced that it is seeking Congressional approval of a million request that would pay for helicopters, communications equipment and training for Colombian troops to guard the Caño Limón pipeline, which transports crude oil pumped by Occidental Petroleum of Los Angeles from the country's eastern oil fields to a Caribbean port. State department officials declared Colombia also as one of the next battlefields in their “war on terrorism”. These steps go beyond the rhetoric of the “war on drugs” and mark a new escalation in the US fueling of the terror in Colombia.
It is time to take action and put an end to US support of the state-terrorism in Colombia and throughout Latin America.
CLOSE THE SOA! STOP ECONOMIC AND MILITARY US INTERVENTION IN COLOMBIA!
Working in coalition with over 60 solidarity, labor, student, environmental and human rights groups, SOA Watch calls for a National Mobilization to close the SOA and end U.S. support of the war in Colombia.
Mobilize your community to come to Washington, DC this spring.
Contact SOA Watch for an organizing packet.
Friday, April 19
Vigil and Lobbying to Shut Down the SOA at the US Capitol (Upper Senate Park)
Saturday, April 20
- Demonstration by the National Youth and Student Peace Coalition (http://www.soaw.org/Articles/current%2520info/new/A20.html),
- Colombia Teach In, Skills and Nonviolent Direct Action Training, Concert
Sunday, April 21
- Colombia Mobilization Festival of Hope and Resistance with speakers from North and Latin America, Music, Puppets and Street Theatre
- Coordinating Meeting for Monday Action
Monday, April 22
Solidarity March and Nonviolent Direct Action
Check on the web:
Colombia Mobilization: http://www.soaw.org/colombiaMobilization.html
Student Peace March: http://www.soaw.org/Articles/current%2520info/new/A20.html
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