Wednesday, November 27, 2013

In honor of the SOA victims: "No más! No more!"

BACKGROUND:  Below is a brief history of the annual vigil at the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA  (Info taken from the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) website:  www.soaw.orgAt various times in past years CCVIs, co-ministers and students from our institutions have participated in the annual vigil.

WHAT IS THE "SOA WATCH"?  SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.

WHY DID THE SOA WATCH BEGIN?  On November 16, 1989, six Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter were massacred in El Salvador. A U.S. Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

In 1990 SOA Watch began in a tiny apartment outside the main gate of Ft. Benning by Fr. Roy Bourgeois. While starting with a small group, SOA Watch quickly drew upon the knowledge and experience of many in the U.S. who had worked with the people of Latin America in the 1970's and 80's.  Thus began the annual vigil at the School of the Americas on the weekend before Thanksgiving.

WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE SOA WATCH?  Today, the SOA Watch movement is a large, diverse, grassroots movement rooted in solidarity with the people of Latin America. The goal of SOA Watch is to close the SOA and to change U.S. foreign policy in Latin America by educating the public, lobbying Congress and participating in creative, nonviolent resistance. The Pentagon has responded to the growing movement and Congress' near closure of the SOA with a PR campaign to give the SOA a new image. In an attempt to disassociate the school with its horrific past, the SOA was renamed the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in January of 2001The name has changed, but the misión of the SOA remains the same.

ARTICLE:  CLICK HERE to read Fr. John Dear, S.J.'s reflections on the 2013 vigil held last weekend at the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, GA

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