Joining with Latin America to Close the School of the Americas

Lisa Sullivan talked Monday night at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church about the growing movement to close the School of the Americas, including recent organizing in Latin American countries to quit sending their troops to the School of the Americas (now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation – WHINSEC).

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Lisa described how School of the Americas Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois drew her into the project, first convincing her to accompany him in meeting with the Venezuelan Vice President to encourage Venezuela to withdraw their students from the School of the Americas, which led to a meeting with President Chavez, who did call his students home, as have several other countries.

More information on the School of the Americas Watch Latin America Project at:

Ironically, when Lisa and Father Bourgeoois met with recently ousted Honduran President Zelaya, he did not think it was a good time to ask the military to withdraw their members from the SOA/WHINSEC because he wanted them on his side as he worked for reform.  Of course, Zelaya was removed from office by the military (and has since returned and is at their Brazilian embassy, currently under siege by gases being fired in by the Honduran military).

It’s not surprising to learn the military members involved in the Honduran coup were trained by the School of the Americas.

Here’s a telling quote:

SOA-trained Honduran Army Attorney Col. Herberth Inestroza justified the military coup and stated in an interview with the Miami Herald , “It would be difficult for us, with our training, to have a relationship with a leftist government. That’s impossible.’’

Umm, doesn’t sound like we’re supporting democracy with our School of the Americas training, even with the new WHINSEC name change.

Unfortunately, President Obama hasn’t shown resolve to really change our course in Latin America.  With the Honduran coup, first he called it a coup, then the State department handled everything and referred to it euphemistically as “the troubles” in Honduras; with Obama finally calling it a coup again, but not a military coup, as we’d have to drop all aid and withdraw our Ambassador (as many countries in Latin America have). Then there is Obama’s push for military bases in Colombia, opposed by many Latin American countries.

School of the Americas Watch is currently planning for their annual mobilization on November 20–22 to close the school located at Fort Benning, Georgia.

St. Patrick’s Catholic Church will be hosting a send off for the Seattle delegation to the SOAW protest in Georgia on November 16 at 7 pm

Also, SOAW is trying to close the school through legislative means including closing the school and releasing the names of those trained there.

Lisa Sullivan was also interviewed by a Spanish station and KBCS (91.3 FM), which we were told tonight will be airing on Thursday, October 1 at 5 pm.