To open a PDF document, you need Adobe Acrobat Reader,Click the icon
follow the prompts. It is free, safe and secure.
Add Their Voices to Call for School Closure
BENNING, GA, December 3, 2007---Dominicans from around the
United States, along with their friends and students from several
Dominican schools, helped to swell the crowd of over 25,000
people marching against the School of the America.
Barnett, OP (St. Albert) walks in process with (in background)
Mary Soher, OP (Adrian) and Jane Abell, OP (Houston)
organizers, the 18th annual vigil, held November 16-18th, was
one of the "largest and most vibrant yet." The
controversial training center is formally called the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,
a combat-training school for Latin American soldiers. Graduates
of the program make up a litany of terror in ElSalvador, Guatamala
and other Latin American nations.
A particular feature this year included statements of solidarity
from groups in Latin America, including a statement from Dominican
leaders who recently met in Guatamala. (see related story)
Political and Church leaders joined the procession including U.S.
presidential candidates Dennis
Kucinich, Mary Waskowiak;, RSM, President of the Sisters
of Mercy of the Americas and Rabbi Michael Lerner.
“It is important for us to be present at the vigil
to be in solidarity with other people who have recognized this
institution’s impact on the poor and helpless,” Dominican
Sisters of Springfield Council Member and Justice Promoter,
Sister Marcelline Koch, OP said. “Innocent people
are tortured and killed by the graduates of the SOA."
SOA WATCH, an independent organization
seeking to close the School of the Americas, reports that the graduates
of this school return to their countries to utilize their training
domestically and are consistently cited for atrocities against their
own people. Other human rights organizations have linked hundreds
of SOA graduates to widespread terrorism, civilian-targeted torture,
disappearance and killing.
The weekend also included nonviolent direct action
training, workshops, benefit concerts, puppet shows, teach-ins
Portillo Bartow gave a tribute to Rufina Amaya,
the sole survivor of the El Mozote massacre of over 900 men,
women and children in El Salvador. In 1999, Rufina traveled
from El Salvador to the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, where
19 of the 26 people later found responsible for the massacre
were trained at the School of the Americas. She told the story
of the massacre and worked for justice until her death of a
heart illness earlier this year. Rufina
Amaya – Presente!
Simultaneous actions took place throughout the weekend in Santiago,
Chile; Fort Huachuca, Arizona; Monterey, California; San Francisco,
California; and Toronto, Canada; and other places.
Sources that contributed to
this story: SOAW.org Dominican Sisters of Springfield,
in Latin America call for SOA closure.
RESISTANCE AND MARTYRDOM
Justice and Peace Meeting in Guatemala
SLIDESHOW: Sights and Sounds from the
November 16-18, 2007 Vigil to Close the SOA/
STATEMENTS from across the Americas.
“These horrors often happen to people
who are poor, these are people who don’t
have a voice.”
Marcelline Koch, OP (Springfield)