SOA Vigil November 16-18: Take A Stand For Human Rights

Source: SOA Watch

Come celebrate with us and join torture survivors, students, social movement leaders, religious workers, the Indigo Girls, Congressman Jim McGovern, presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, the 1000 Grandmothers, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, singer/songwriter Carrie Newcomer, Students for a Democratic Society, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Veterans for Peace, gulf war resister Aimee Allison, social movement leader Josefina Lazo from El Salvador, Jim Schmitz of AFSCME, Fr. John Dear, Miguel Angel Vasquez de la Rosa from Oaxaca and thousands more in denouncing SOA/WHINSEC-sponsored violence in Latin America and demand a radical change in U.S. foreign policy!

– Watch an inspiring video of the November Vigil to Close the SOA/WHINSEC produced by SCM Canada to promote their pilgrimage to this year’s vigil. Click here for more SOA Watch videos


Visit the November Vigil page for new updates on the weekend’s Schedule of Events, Travel and Accomodations and Ride Board

Accessibility & Interpretation: ASL and English<>Spanish interpretation services will be available during the vigil weekend. Follow the link to find out more about interpretation services, large print and Braille programs and wheelchair accessibility

Atencion! – SOA Watch cuenta con un servicio de interpretacion simultanea de espanol<>ingles durante la Vigilia. Las/os interpretes tendran una mesa cerca del escenario donde se distribuiran los equipos de interpretacion (radio y audifonos). Para obtener mas informacion contactarse con Jenny Dillon – jdforpnj(at)riseup(dot)net – * Please pass this information on to Spanish speaking friends who are planning or thinking about joining the vigil.

Volunteer: The Vigil is the result of thousands of volunteers who dedicate their time, skills and energy in making this one of the largest and most exciting annual demonstrations. If you’d like to volunteer, contact the SOA Watch Working Group which best fits your areas of interest and skills.

Calling on 1000 Grandmothers: The 1000 Grandmother’s goal is to get Grandmothers from every state to organize and take part in the November Vigil. This year they are collecting quilt squares to make into a great, beautiful quilt, possibly to be raffled at the Tea Party. The theme is "A Grandmother’s Heart".

Caravans & Speaking Tours

"Journey for Justice 2007" : cross-county speaking tour whose main intention is to raise public awareness of the SOA/WHINSEC.

"Army of None Tour 2007": Strategies to Counter Military Recruitment, End War, and Build a Better World.

"Theater of the Oppressed": Hector Aristizabal performs "Nightwing", a play based on his experiences as a torture survivor.

"Cardboard Chaos": Puppetistas on Bikes – Fifth Annual Southeast Tour November 7-12, 2007.

Presidential Candidates Speak on the SOA/WHINSEC

A few days ago, The Nation published an article discussing the positions of each of the Democratic candidates for the President of the United States on closing the School of the Americas (SOA), now renamed WHINSEC. Never before have so many candidates responded to a request for their position, which demonstrates how powerful the issue and our grassroots legislative campaign has become!

– Read The Nation article SOA Protest Draws Scant Support From Candidates" by Patrick Mulvaney

This new information is the perfect starting point for an intense grassroots bird-dogging campaign now that we know where the candidates stand! For more information on bird-dogging tips and the 2008 elections, print out the SOA Watch 2008 Elections Packet and make history in the SOA Watch Legislative Campaign!

For more information on the Legislative Campaign, visit the Legislative Action Index or contact the Legislative Coordinator, Pam Bowman, at pbowman(at)soaw(dot)org or 202-234-3440.

SOA Grad Loses Bid for Presidency in Guatemala

In a presidential election mired in violence, threats and assassinations; SOA graduate and former Director of Military Intelligence, General Otto Perez Molina’s lost Guatemala’s presidential election. He was defeated by social-democrat Alvaro Colom who obtained 52.8% of the votes in contrast to Perez Molina’s 47.2

Otto Perez Molina attended the Command and General Staff College at the School of the Americas in 1985. During his time in the Guatemalan army he served as director of the G-2 (military intelligence). In 1983 he was a member of the group of army officers who backed Defense Minister Oscar Mejia’s coup d’etat against de facto president Efrain Rios Montt.

Guatemala has the highest crime and murder rate in Latin America and is slowly re-building after a 30-year long civil war and a succession of brutal military dictatorships which took the lives of hundreds of thousands of Guatemaltecos.

Victor Galvez, a Guatemalan political analyst, said the result showed Guatemalans rejected Perez Molina’s rightist solutions to their country’s problems. "It’s a message that people don’t want to return to the military past," he said. "In the end, the firm hand turned against Perez Molina."

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