Managua, Nicaragua – A delegation, led by the School of the Americas Watch’s founder Roy Bourgeois and 20 activists from United States, Canada, and the U.K., met with Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega on September 4, 2012 to demand the removal of Nicaraguan troops from the School of the Americas (SOA, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation). In this meeting, President Ortega announcedNicaragua’s withdraw from the notorious institution.
President Ortega said: «the SOA is an ethical and moral anathema. All of the countries ofLatin Americahave been victims of its graduates. The SOA is a symbol of death, a symbol of terror. We have been gradually reducing our numbers of troops at the SOA, sending only five last year and none this year. We have now entered a new phase and we will NOT continue to send troops to the SOA. This is the least that we can do. We have been its victims.»
The news comes little afterEcuadordecided to withdraw its troops from the SOA/ WHINSEC this 27th of June. A delegation from SOAW met with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa with the same intentions than inManagua. In this way,NicaraguajoinsEcuador,Argentina,Uruguay,Venezuela, andBoliviain the decision to terminate its relations with the SOA/ WHINSEC.
SOA Watch has put together a high level delegation of torture survivors, labor leaders, Members of Congress, academics, and representatives of religious communities, that will meet with the Obama administration to make the case for the closing of the SOA/ WHINSEC on September 17, 2012.
The School of theAmericasis a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located atFort Benning,Georgia. In 2001, it was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). This institution has a history of graduatingLatin America’s worst dictators, generals, and soldiers. Among the latest findings is the recent sentencing of Pedro Pimentel Ríos, Guatemalan SOA-trained Soldier, to 6,060 Years for Dos Erres Massacre, and Colombian General Rito Alejo delRio, also trained at the SOA, sentenced to 25 years for murder.
Source: SOA Watch