This petition is asking that President Barack Obama issue an executive order to close down the School of the Americas.
Fort Benning Georgia is the location of the military school previously known as the "School of the Americas". At the end of the year 2000 the Pentagon changed the name of the school to the "Western Hemisphere Institute For Security Protection" in a shallow attempt to cover up the institution's murky past. But the bottom line remains the same - it's where 60,000 Latin American students were trained to torture, terrorize and kill for dictatorships supported by the United States government and your tax dollars.
In the name of its citizens and using American taxpayer dollars, the United States, the most-democratic of countries, has for decades been training some of the most anti-democratic leaders in the world. Administrations that have decried terrorism abroad, have encouraged terrorists right here at home -- at the SOA.
Countries / Graduates (since 1946)
Argentina / 931
Bolivia / 4,049
Brazil / 355
Chile / 2,405
Colombia / 8,679
Costa Rica / 2,376
Dominican Republic / 2,330
Ecuador / 2,356
El Salvador / 6,776
Guatemala / 1,676
Honduras / 3,691
Nicaragua / 4,693
Panama / 4,235
Paraguay / 1,084
Peru / 3,997
Uruguay / 931
Venezuela / 3,250
On November 13, 2008, the Center for Justice and Accountability (CJA) filed a criminal case in Spain against Alfredo Cristiani Burkard, former Salvadoran President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, and 14 other soldiers from the Salvadoran Army for their role in the notorious Jesuits massacre that took place in November 16, 1989. The defendants include many graduates of the SOA/ WHINSEC. The case was jointly filed by the CJA and their colleagues with the Spanish Association for Human Rights (APDHE). The case includes a complaint alleging crimes against humanity, the cover up of crimes against humanity and state terrorism.
In December 1981, the inhabitants of a small Salvadoran
hamlet were systematically exterminated by the Atlacatl
Battalion, a U.S.-trained counterinsurgency force. The
Reagan administration, determined to preserve U.S.
support for El Salvador's war against leftist guerrillas,
downplayed reports of this massacre. The White House
ignored and deflected reports that hundreds of unarmed
women, children and men were shot, hung or beheaded.
Today, the truth is known beyond any doubt. Fifteen
years after one of the worst massacres in Latin
For more information you can visit the SOA Watchgroup website (don't forget to sign the petition):
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.
If you're interested in Latin American culture and history I recommend Anth380; Ricardo has done a fantastic job instructing this course.