NOVEMBER 16-18: Large Scale Mobilization to Take Place at the Gates of U.S. Military Base in Georgia to Shut Down the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)
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.
Friday, November 16: Workshops and Concert at the Columbus Convention Center (800 Front Ave., Columbus, GA)
SATURDAY, November 17: Massive Rally with speakers and musicians from across the Americas at the Gates of Fort Benning, Georgia (2400 Fort Benning Rd, Columbus, GA 31903)
SUNDAY, November, 18: Funeral procession to the gates of Fort Benning, where the fence will be transformed into a memorial for those who were killed at the hands of SOA graduates (photo opportunity).
Columbus, Georgia – The November Vigil will put grassroots pressure on the Obama administration to end U.S. militarization and to close the SOA/ WHINSEC. 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. For a schedule of events, visit SOAW.org.
The SOA/WHINSEC is a U.S. taxpayer-funded military training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. In June of 2009, SOA graduates played an instrumental role in a US backed coup that deposed the democratically elected president of Honduras. Since then, the US has provided weapons and military funding to the illegitimate, repressive Honduran regime and continues to train Honduran troops at the SOA/WHINSEC. Hundreds of journalists, unionists, LGBT members, Resistance activists and others have been murdered in Honduras since the SOA graduate-led military coup. Father Melo, a Jesuit priest and radio host, whose radio station was occupied by the military following the coup and who has received death threats, will be one of the featured speakers on Sunday morning at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia.
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 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 this weekend to set an agenda against U.S. militarization.