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Jun 23, 2007

Focus:Human Rights
Action Request:Write E-Mail
Location:United States
"There's no turning back...We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind and heart..." - César Chávez

203:214 = SOA/WHINSEC Survives Vote in Congress by a 6 Vote Margin


On Thursday night at 11:52 PM, Congress defeated the McGovern/Lewis amendment to cut the funding for the SOA/WHINSEC by a margin of six votes.


The grassroots mobilizing effort was tremendous: Tens of thousands of emails, faxes and calls flooded the halls of Congress over the past three days. Students, clergy, union members and veterans travelled to DC and visited with hundreds of Congressional offices to communicate clearly that there is no room for institutions like the SOA/WHINSEC in our future. Despite this, 214 Members of Congress missed the chance to stand up for human rights, justice and democracy, and voted to keep the funding for the SOA/WHINSEC flowing.

The WHINSEC PR machine and high-ranking Pentagon officials used taxpayer money to put a lot of pressure on Members of Congress. However, this is no excuse for Representatives to not be accountable to their constituents. There were Representatives this week that committed to vote to cut funding for the SOA/WHINSEC, and then shifted their vote. Those people need hear from all of us, loudly and in public. If we can mobilize around the vote the way that we have, we can mobilize around targeted primary elections and make clear to constituents in those districts how their candidates feel about supporting the Pentagon policies and this school of shame.

Visit http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2007/roll536.xml to check the roll call to see how your Representative voted.

Contact her/him with thanks if they voted to cut SOA/WHINSEC funding. Express your displeasure to those who sided with the SOA/WHINSEC and your extreme displeasure to those who said that they would vote with us but didn't.

WE WILL CLOSE THE SOA/WHINSEC/

While we did not get enough Members of Congress to vote with us, it was clear to us and to our supporters in the House that we have tremendous power when we mobilize together. We gained the support of new Republicans and new members of Congress, the margin of SOA/ WHINSEC survival is rapidly dwindling, and this week due to grassroots pressure, we added several new cosponsors to HR 1707 bringing our total to 111.

Your work these past weeks was remarkable. Because of your persistence, 209 Members of Congress voted with us, despite the pressure that was exerted by the Pentagon. Please take the time to thank your Representative if she/he stood up for human rights and voted with us. Together we educated hundreds of Representatives and staffers about the SOA/WHINSEC. We built new relationships and strengthened long-term ones. We have gained a lot of ground in Congress and our goal of closing this School of the Death is coming closer and closer.

We thank you for all your amazing work, sacrifice, commitment and support!




More updates soon!



Costa Rica to Cease Police Training at the SOA/WHINSEC!

Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced on May 16, 2007 that Costa Rica will cease to send police to train at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas.

( Photo: From L to R - Rita Calvert (SOAW activist living in Costa Rica), Fr. Roy Bourgeois, President Oscar Arias, Lisa Sullivan, Fernando Berrocal Soto (Minister of Government, Police and Public Security), Isabel MacDonald (Director of the Peace Center in Costa Rica))

Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, made the decision after talks with an SOA Watch delegation, including Julio Yao of SERPAJ Panama; the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch; and Lisa Sullivan Rodriguez of the SOA Watch Latin America Project.

Costa Rica is the fourth country to announce a withdrawal from the SOA/WHINSEC. In 2006, the governments of Argentina and Uruguay announced that they would cease all training at the school, becoming the second and third countries to announce a cessation of training. In January of 2004, Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuela would no longer send troops to train at the school.

Continue Reading...


Four Prisoners of Conscience Released!
We are thrilled to announce that four of our friends who were serving 60-day sentences in federal prisons were released on June 14, 2007.

The four are among the sixteen human rights advocates who were arrested for "trespassing" while protesting the SOA/WHINSEC during the November 17-19,2007 Vigil to Close the SOA at Fort Benning, GA.

(Photos: Clockwise from top left - Tina Busch-Nema, Don Coleman, Martina Leforce, Nathan Slater.)

Christine Busch-Nema, Martina Leforce, Rev. Don Coleman and Nathan Slater were released on Thursday, June 14 after serving 60 days in federal prison.

Five prisoners of conscience are still in prison and Katherine Whitney Ray is presently serving one year probation, please continue to show your support to the SOA 16 by writing to the prisoners and supporting the campaign to shut down the SOA/WHINSEC.

Your letters of support to prisoners and donations to SOA Watch keep this movement alive and energized. SOA Watch is not only a human rights organization but also an international community of human rights and social justice advocates from different walks of life who share a common cause in the defense of life, justice and freedom.

Read more about the SOA 16

Actions to take in solidarity with those in prison

Make a donation to SOA Watch
http://www.soaw.org
Visibility: Everyone
Posted: Saturday June 23, 2007, 10:28 pm
Tags: human military south america and activism rights central successful [add/edit tags]

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