Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Salvadorans, U.S. Religious Target School of Americas

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

Salvadorans, U.S. Religious Target School of Americas

Article excerpt

Protests were held in the United States and El Salvador in late April demanding the closure of the School of the Americas, the U.S. Army-run school of Fort Benning, Ga., which activists say has trained Latin American military leaders responsible for human rights atrocities.

A group of Salvadorans and U.S. religious held a weeklong protest April 21-29 outside the U.S. Embassy in El Salvador. Holding banners and placards containing the photographs of victims of human rights abuses, about 100 people gathered in front of the embassy building, located in a San Salvador suburb.

One of the placards read: "These are the results of the lessons at the School of the Americas." Below the words were photos of Archbishop Oscar A. Romero and of six Jesuit priests, killed by the army in 1980 and 1989 respectively.

"This institution has done enough damage to Salvadoran society. Its existence is a threat to humanity," said Alicia Garcia, head of the Committee of Mothers of the Disappeared, called COMADRES.

A letter addressed to members of Congress was handed to embassy staff calling on them to support an initiative by Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy, D-Mass., to close the school. A copy of the letter, signed by representatives of Salvadoran human rights groups, was forwarded to the newly appointed U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Anne Patterson, who was to arrive at the end of April.

Protests took place the same week in Washington to press Congress on the Kennedy bill. …

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