Sunday, October 21, 2007

School of the Americas Vigil

Hi Guys!
So this is sort of unrelated but i thought you might be interested: the School of the Americas is an organization funded by our government that has provided weapons and military training to various governments and other groups in Latin America for a number of years. There is a protest against the SOA held every November at the organization's facility in Georgia, and this year WashU Amnesty is attending. I am planning on going, and it would be wonderful if we could get a decent number of students from Wash U! For more info. on the protest you can go to . Below is a copy of the email from Amnesty about the trip.

"Hey Wash U Amnesty Members!!!
This is David Weisshaar. I am writing to let you guys know about options for going to the 2007 School of the Americas Vigil. The Vigil will be held on the weekend of November 16-18. There is a group in St. Louis called the Interfaith Committee on Latin America that is taking a bunch of people down to Georgia for the Vigil. One of the directors of the organization told me that she would be glad to add any Wash U student to her trip.

Here are the details:
-We would leave at about 5 P.M. on Friday, November 16 from the organization's headquarters, which are very near to campus
-We would return at about 1 A.M. on Monday, November 19
-The total cost of the trip is $105, which includes transportation, hotel lodging, and breakfast on Sunday morning. You would probably want to bring a little bit of extra money for food.
-We would attend workshops, meet with non-governmental organizations, and attend the main protest and direct action at the gates of SOA

If you guys are interested in attending the Vigil, please email me at as SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!"


Jake said...

Fmr. Ecuadorian dictator Guillermo Rodriguez was trained at SOA, and won power in a coup in 1972. He was in power for 4 years before being overthrown himself. His administration was marked by significant oil extraction, which generated revenue for public improvements but widened the national wealth gap and increased inflation.

Still looking for info on civil rights/humanitarian issues related to his SOA training.

Lee Rials said...

As the public affairs officer for the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, which replaced the school seven years ago (Congress passed the bill that President Clinton signed into law, closing the school and creating the institute), I can suggest that you come inside Ft. Benning and see WHINSEC for yourself. Do a little honest research instead of taking the word of those who have never been here. You will find that not one person has ever been found to have used what he learned there to commit any crime! Write to me at: and I will add you to the 600+ who are touring the institute on Saturday the 17th. Take a couple of hours to see the place you are protesting against. I was in St. Louis last month, speaking at SLUH along with a SOAW rep; I did a little side trip to visit Washington U's ROTC department.