SOA Grad Loses at the Polls in Guatemala

By admin on November 7, 2007

On November 4, SOA graduate General Otto Perez Molina lost the presidential election in Guatemala to centrist candidate Alvaro Colom. Perez Molina was chief of Guatemala’s G-2 military intelligence when the staff was implicated in the assassination of Judge Edgar Ramiro Elias Ogaldez. According to acclaimed Guatemalan American writer Francisco Goldman’s new book, The Art of Political Murder: Who Killed the Bishop?, Perez Molina was also involved in the 1998 murder of beloved Catholic Bishop Juan Gerardi, who was bludgeoned to death two days after presenting a truth commission about the country’s brutal 36-year civil war. The report cited that most of the 200,000 deaths from the war were at the hands of the Guatemalan Army. (In 2001, SOA graduate Col. Lima Estrada was convicted for the murder, along with two other army officers and a priest.)

Colom carried many rural and Maya voters to defeat the general. Mayans suffered the worst losses in the civil war.

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SOA/WHINSEC Instructors Jailed for Involvement in Colombian Drug Cartel

By admin on September 19, 2007

According to an August 18 AP story, 13 high-ranking officers accused of providing security and mobilizing troops for the leader of the Norte del Valle Cartel, one of the FBI’s 10 most-wanted criminals.

Over half of the 13 military officials implicated in the drug cartel protection ring attended the U.S. Army School of the Americas and/or its successor institute, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Two were even instructors at the school, where they taught “peacekeeping operations” and “democratic sustainment” in 2003-2004.

SOAW Watch posted an eloquent response on their site: “These events serve as a sad reminder of the consequences of the SOA/WHINSEC’s policies, or lack thereof, regarding the tracking of its students and evaluating the actual results of the training it provides. The school claims to be a tool for furthering democratic values and human rights in the Western Hemisphere yet the facts show that a significant number of its graduates have consistently engaged in human rights violations and criminal activity.”

Go to SOAW.org for the full story.

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Argentina and Uruguay Abandon SOA!

By admin on April 5, 2006

Thanks to the work of a human rights delegation that included SOA Watch founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois and Salvadoran torture survivor Carlos Mauricio, the government of Argentina has decided to stop training its soldiers at the School of Americas (now known as WHINSEC), and Uruguay affirmed its current commitment of not sending soldiers to the school. They join Venezuela, which decided to cut its ties with the SOA in 2004. Read more details in the Nation article "No Ms! No More!"

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New York Newsday Story on SOA

By admin on July 21, 2005

On July 21 Newsday ran a great story titled Pols Call to Shut Paramilitary School, about the efforts of New York politicians in the fight to
close the SOA.

The article quotes Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-Mineola) as saying, "I believe
the link between the school and [human rights] abuses must be investigated." She also pointed out
that the reforms that were supposed to accompany the notorious school’s name change after it narrowly
escaped being shut down in 1999 were superficial. SOA supporter Rep. Peter King is quoted as saying,
"The School of the Americas has advanced democracy in Latin America."

The people of
Colombia’s Peace Community of San Jose de Apartado would not agree with
King: The article brings up SOA grad Gen. Hctor Jaime Fandino Rincn, who commanded
a brigade responsible for the February 21 massacre of community leader Luis Eduardo Guerra-Guerra,
three children, and four other adults.

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