SOA Watch Scores Victory in Venezuela; President Chavez to Withdraw Officers from U.S. Army Training School

By Hodge, James; Cooper, Linda | National Catholic Reporter, April 9, 2004 | Go to article overview

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 corruption scheme involving counter-narcotics funds.

In interviews with NCR, Army and school officials downplayed the fact that the institution is losing Venezuela, an oil-rich country and one of the school's bigger clients with more than 4,000 graduates.

"Venezuela can't send any more officers," and Venezuelans now in training will be gone before summer, said Army Lt. Col. Linda Gould. Venezuela, she said, is a member of the International Criminal Court and has not signed an Article 98 waiver that the State Department now demands before approving foreign military assistance, sales and training.

The waiver is aimed at exempting U.S. officials and military personnel from prosecution by the court for war crimes. By signing it, Venezuela would agree to disavow its international obligation to extradite accused U.S. soldiers and officials to The Hague for trial.

Venezuela's announcement about ending the training came six weeks after Bourgeois met with Chavez during a weeklong trip to the country organized by Maryknoll's Office for Global Concerns and the Medical Mission Sisters' Alliance for Justice.

Global Concerns director Marie Dennis said the January visit was organized to meet with a broad spectrum of people, including U.S. embassy and Venezuelan government officials, barrio residents, religious leaders and Chavez critics, some of whom, Dennis said, the government will need to engage if it is to succeed in redirecting the country's resources to meet the needs of the poor.

Bourgeois was particularly impressed with the government's health and literacy programs for the poor, who make up nearly 80 percent of the population: "I saw a lot of hope and joy in the barrios."

"The Bush administration is trying to paint Chavez as something of a dictator," Bourgeois said.

"But they have freedom of the press. There were opposition papers everywhere, and Chavez gets a lot of bad press. They have the freedom to protest. There are large demonstrations all the time. And there are no political prisoners"--a fact that even Stephen McFarland, a top U.S. embassy official, conceded to the delegation.

Bourgeois had gone to Venezuela in the hopes of talking to Chavez about the School of the Americas, but the meeting could not be prearranged and happened by chance. Bourgeois had broached the subject during a visit with the country's vice president, Jose Vicente Rangel.

Immediately after that meeting, Dennis said, Venezuelan media grimed interviews with some members of the delegation, and Bourgeois mentioned the school's track record. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

SOA Watch Scores Victory in Venezuela; President Chavez to Withdraw Officers from U.S. Army Training School
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.