Argentina & Uruguay abandon SOA!
Critical victory for human rights organizations across the Americas
We are thrilled to tell you that in the past week the government of
Argentina decided to stop sending soldiers to train at the School of the Americas,
and the government of Uruguay affirmed that it will continue its current policy
of not sending soldiers to the SOA/ WHINSEC!
These decisions are a critical victory for all those struggling for human rights,
justice and military accountability across the Americas! Argentina and Uruguay
are the second and third countries to take this vital step; they join Venezuela,
which announced in January of 2004 that they would no longer send soldiers to
This past Friday, Roy, Carlos and Lisa met with the Defense Minister of Uruguay,
Azucena Berrutti. Minister Berrutti is a former human rights lawyer. During
the long dictatorship in Uruguay she defended numerous political prisoners.
Lisa Sullivan writes:
"From the beginning of the conversation, Minister Berrutti told us that
there was no need to explain the atrocities of the SOA, as she, and the people
of Uruguay, were fully aware of this reality, having experienced first hand
the horrors of the tortures, detentions, imprisonments and 'disappearances'
caused by its graduates. Over and over here in Latin America we have been
humbled and realize that we do not need to explain these things to our public,
but rather they have much to tell us, to put faces and emotions on the statistics
which we have memorized so efficiently...."
Minister Berrutti shared with Carlos, Lisa and Roy some very good news: during
the year President Tabaré Vázquez has been in office, no military
personnel from Uruguay have been sent to the SOA, and none will be sent
under this current administration.
Yesterday, the three SOA Watch activists and the head of the Mothers of the
Disappeared met with the defense minister, Nilda Garré, whose husband
was disappeared during the repression in Argentina. Minister Garré agreed
that after the one Argentinean soldier currently at the SOA/ WHINSEC finishes
his classes, no more Argentinean soldiers will be sent to the School of the
Americas. Read the whole
update from Lisa, Carlos & Roy.
The tide is turning in Latin America! All across Central and South America,
governments and citizens are rejecting SOA-style military "solutions"
to social problems. Across the Americas, support for the School of the
Americas is eroding every day. Add your voice to this movement for
justice! March, rally and lobby to close the SOA in Washington, DC April 23-25!