SOA Crumbling?


The US military school at Fort Benning, Georgia that teaches Latin American police and military officers anti-insurgency tactics to use against their own people may be on its way out.

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation - formerly the School of the Americas (a.k.a the School of Torture) - is repeatedly being rejected by Latin American governments.

According to SOA Watch's Lisa Sullivan, in mid-May, when she handed the list of over 2500 Costa Rican graduates to President Oscar Arias, he was "incredulous." Arias immediately declared he would stop sending police for training at the SOA/WHINSEC. (Having long ago abolished its military, Costa Rica doesn't have soldiers.)

Costa Rica isn't the first Latin American country to say basta! (enough!) Since January 2004 Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay have stopped using the SOA/WHINSEC.

This heartening development stems from aggressive lobbying by SOA Watch's Lisa Sullivan and Fr. Roy Bourgeois. For the past three years these two (with others) have been meeting with heads of state, ministers of defense and NGO organizations throughout South and Central America.

To learn more come to the monthly meetings of the CNY Caribbean Latin America Coalition and see: www.soawatch.org.

-Ed Kinane