What if soldiers from your own country came into your town, took members of your family, and you never saw or heard from them again? Would you want to do something about it? Now is your chance.
This is what has happened in Central and South America. According to the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) website , soldiers were trained right here in the United States of America, in the School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in Fort Benning, GA. The School of the Americas (SOA) has left trails of blood, death and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned home.
The school started in Panama in 1946, but was expelled from Panama in 1984. The President of Panama called it “the school of Assassins.” It was then moved to Fort Benning, GA. Since then, the SOAW says 194,664,000 soldiers have been trained in counterinsurgency, torture, interrogation tactics, and psychological warfare. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been murdered, raped, tortured, and kidnapped all because of the graduates of this school.
In 1990, Maryknoll priest Fr. Roy Bourgeois started the SOAW to advocate for the closure of this school. In 2001 the government changed the name of the school in hopes that people’s perception would change. But little in the curriculum changed. Politicians have come close to voting to close the school, but it has yet to happen.
Protests continue, and rightly so. If those injured were members of your family, wouldn’t you want them to?
You can do something about it. Check out www.soaw.org for more information.