Thousands of social justice activists from across the Americas will gather at the gates of Fort Benning, GA, to call for an end to U.S. militarization and for the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of the Americas.
Columbus, Georgia - 10 days after the November elections, the November Vigil will put grassroots pressure behind the demands for an end to U.S. militarization and for the closing of the SOA/ WHINSEC, no matter who wins the elections. The recent announcements by Ecuador and Nicaragua to join Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Venezuela in pulling their troops out of the SOA/ WHINSEC have put the Pentagon on the defensive about the viability of their flagship training school.
The three-day convergence is the largest annual anti-militarization convergence in North America. It will include a massive rally on Saturday, November 17, where thousands will gather at Fort Benning’s gates to demand an end to Washington-backed violence in Latin America. A funeral procession will follow on Sunday to commemorate the victims of U.S. militarism. The mobilization will also include workshops, concerts, a strategy session, and more.
The SOA/WHINSEC is a U.S. taxpayer-funded military training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. The school made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. But this admission, to say nothing of fact that hundreds of SOA alumni have been implicated in human rights abuses, has never prompted an independent investigation into the training facility. On September 20, 2012, Al Jazeera ran the story, “The School of the Americas: Class Over?” The piece is available here: http://aljazeera.com/
“The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation is part of the failed mindset that says that social problems can be ‘solved’ through military solutions. This mindset has brought us the failed ‘War on Drugs’ and has killed thousands of people.” said SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois. SOA Watch will be demonstrating in mid-November to set an agenda against U.S. militarization.