El Salvador to vote on ILEA

 El Salvador’s National Assembly is expected to vote today on whether to host a U.S. run "police training" school.

The International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) will train Latin American police officers to combat transnational crime, drug trafficking, gang violence and terrorism. According to the State Department, the ILEA will also serve a broad range of interests, which include protecting U.S. business interests and enhancing free markets in the region.

Some activists and analysts (and hopefully some lawmakers) see striking similarities between the ILEA and the Western Hemisphere for International Security Cooperation (formerly named The School of the Americas ), a military training institute for Latin American soldiers. The School of Americas was notorious for training genocidal dictators, torturers and cold-blooded killers among Latin America’s military ranks, all under the guise of fighting communism and teaching counter-insurgency techniques.

Dr. Héctor Berríos, coordinator of the Movement for People’s Self-Determination (MAP), a group organized in opposition to the ILEA, is working with others to educate the public about this potential "factory of killers" which could be built.

"Those responsible for the massacre at El Mozote in 1981 were soldiers trained in the School of the Americas. And today they are going to train judges, prosecutors, and police officers in this International Law Enforcement Academy, and it terrifies us to think what will come out of there," said Berríos.

El Salvador has had a terribly bloody experience with U.S. trained soldiers:

"Two of the three implicated in the 1980 murder of Archbishop Romero, 19 out of 27 cited by the UN Truth Commission for complicity in the 1981 massacre at El Mozote, and ten of the twelve responsible for the 1989 murder of six Salvadoran Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter, were trained at the SOA."

Some recommended actions you can take are:

1. Send a fax to Rafael Machuca, PCN leader (011-503-2281-9272), and Rolando Alvarenga, ARENA leader (011-503-2281-9433), demanding their parties vote NO to the ILEA Wednesday. (If you can’t send a fax, send e-mails to rmachuca@asamblea.gob.sv and ralvarenga@asamblea.gob.sv. Cut and paste the text of the sample letter in Spanish below)

2. Write to the State Department demanding it stop its plans to build the ILEA in El Salvador. For information and sample letters, see the action alert at www.cispes.org/ilea

3. Join CISPES in the campaign to stop repression and US intervention in El Salvador, including the March 4-15 solidarity delegation! For more information check out www.cispes.org/delegation