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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

April 02, 2006
Finally. Enough!

The School of Americas is losing future "students."

In the past week, the defense ministers of both Uruguay and Argentina have declared that their governments plan to cut ties with the US Army's School of the Americas. The Montevideo newspaper La República quoted Uruguay's defense minister explaining her country's position in an article published Thursday, and Argentina's defense ministry has issued a statement to The Nation confirming that the lone Argentine soldier currently training at the SOA will be the country's last to enroll there. These developments represent two of the strongest indications to date that the people of Latin America have come to view the SOA as a destabilizing force and a gateway to human rights atrocities.

That's one part of our "democracy exportation program" that other countries are finally ready to do without.

Since its founding in 1946, the SOA--now located at Fort Benning in Georgia and renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation--has trained more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in commando and psychological warfare, counterinsurgency techniques and intelligence-gathering. The Pentagon has acknowledged the school's use of field manuals advocating torture in the past, and UN commissions and research organizations have linked SOA graduates to many of the region's most heinous massacres, assassinations and torturous interrogations over the years. Graduates from Uruguay and Argentina figure prominently into this sordid history, from Uruguayan soldiers linked to kidnappings and torture through Operation Condor to the notorious Argentine dictators Roberto Viola and Leopoldo Galtieri.

You can call it shit or you can call it roses. Doesn't change the stink.

"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 firsthand the horrors of the tortures, detentions, imprisonments and 'disappearances' caused by its graduates," wrote Sullivan-Rodriguez in an e-mail message from Buenos Aires.

One small step for liberty....

Posted by AnneZook at 12:12 PM


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