Thousands to Demonstrate Against the "School of the Americas"
November 7, 2005
During the weekend of November 18-20, thousands of people will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia to demand that the U.S. army close down its "School of the Americas" (SOA), also known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).
The SOA/WHINSEC is a combat school run by the U.S. military to train Latin American soldiers in such courses as counter-insurgency warfare, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence, interrogation techniques, etc. Since its establishment in Panama in 1946, the SOA has trained tens of thousands of military personnel including many who became U.S.-sponsored military dictators (e.g. Manuel Noreiga in Panama and Efrain Rios Montt of Guatemala) and organizers of death squads and paramilitary groups.
For many years, peace activists and people from many walks of life have been travelling to Georgia in November to demonstrate against this "School of the Assassins."
This year's protest comes at a time when U.S. imperialism is stepping up its militarism and intervention in Latin America and throughout the world. During the weekend, activists will organize a wide array of workshops and rallies, speaking out against the U.S. occupation and war against Haiti, against U.S. threats and pressure against Venezuela, against the blockade of Cuba, etc. The demonstrators will also demand an end to the war against Iraq.
The struggle to close the SOA-WHISC, like the fight against the war in Iraq, is part of a broad current of opposition to the aggressive foreign policy of the U.S. government.
These on-going annual protests against the SOA have not only exposed this ultra-militarist institution but have also become an important school of struggle against U.S. military intervention throughout Latin America.