SOA Watch Scores Victory in Venezuela; President Chavez to Withdraw Officers from U.S. Army Training School
Hodge, James, Cooper, Linda, National Catholic Reporter
Ever since graduates of the School of the Americas were linked to the assassinations of six Salvadoran Jesuit priests in 1989, peace activists have worked tirelessly to shut down the military school at Fort Benning, Ga. Opponents of the school have organized protests at the fort and the Pentagon, publicized atrocities committed by hundreds of its graduates, lobbied Congress and ultimately brought about a historic vote to cut its funding, only to see the school close and reopen under a new name.
This year, Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of the movement SOA Watch that opposes the School of the Americas, is trying a new strategy: appealing directly to Latin American leaders to stop sending their officers to the school, which in 2001 was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHISC.
So far, the priest is batting a thousand. After Bourgeois made an appeal on Venezuelan national television and met with President Hugo Chavez, the government announced it will no longer send its officers to the school.
What's more, Bourgeois' organization has obtained, after a three-year battle, the names of WHISC graduates and has already linked several to corruption and human rights abuses--including a Salvadoran officer involved in a massacre of 16 people, a Bolivian officer responsible for the torture of a human rights leader, and three Colombians implicated in a …
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Publication information: Article title: SOA Watch Scores Victory in Venezuela; President Chavez to Withdraw Officers from U.S. Army Training School. Contributors: Hodge, James - Author, Cooper, Linda - Author. Magazine title: National Catholic Reporter. Volume: 40. Issue: 23 Publication date: April 9, 2004. Page number: 12. © 2009 National Catholic Reporter. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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