SOA Watch

School of the Americas Watch (SOAW)

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

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. 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.

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 2001.

Mission Statement

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America and the Caribbean, to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the SOA represents. We are grateful to our sisters and brothers throughout Latin America and the Caribbean for their inspiration and the invitation to join them in their struggle for economic and social justice.

SOAW CANADA

(SURLA is involved in the organizing team of SOAW Canada)

SOAW Canada is a non for profit student led organization dedicated at promoting a culture of peace and advocate against militarization.

One of our core tasks is to strive for the closure of the School of the Americas (SOA), now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, a military school that trains Latin American military personnel. A vast number of these military personnel have been responsible for the worst human rights violations in Latin America, as well as they have been charged with overthrowing many democratically elected governments. Much of this has been done under the premise of the cold war, and for the benefit of US corporations. Under the new mandate WHINSEC is charged with training military personnel to fight the ‘war against drugs’. Many human rights violations continue to occur …

Our role as SOAW Canada, is to stay in solidarity with our sisters and brothers of Latin America, who are victims of the harsh policies of the war against drugs, and direct victims of the School of the Americas trainees. We are charged with making public, the gross human rights violations committed in Latin America by SOA trainees, as well as overseeing the role that the Canadian government and Canadian security forces may have in this violations.

We organize a delegation with young people, to go attend the yearly Vigil/Conference that takes place in the month of November. More information will be posted.

For more information on SOAW visit:

www.soaw.org

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