"School of the Americas" Protest in Georgia

Reprinted from The Worker, newspaper of the Workers Party, USA, November 27 , 2009

On November 22, thousands of people gathered outside of Fort Benning, Georgia, to demand the closing of the "School of the Americas" and an end to U.S. military intervention throughout Latin America.

The U.S. Army's School of the Americas (SOA), located at Fort Benning, in Columbus Georgia, is a military training institution that has trained over 64,000 officers and civilians from Latin America and the United States over the past 6 decades. The school has often been referred to as "The School of the Assassins" because many of its graduating officers have become some of the most notorious leaders of death-squads and have been implicated in numerous war crimes, human rights abuses, and drug-trafficking.

Among the school's graduates are Salvadoran soldiers involved in the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, nineteen of the twenty-six Salvadoran officers cited by U.N. Truth Commission for the murders of six Jesuit priests, and many of the soldiers and "para-military" officials involved in the massacres of peasants in Mexico's Chiapas region in the late 1990s. For years, the school taught and trained the "Contra" mercenary soldiers of Nicaragua in tactics which included assassination, kidnapping and murder, and terrorist bombings. Other SOA graduates include the notorious fascist Roberto D'Aubuisson of El Salvador, as well as Manuel Noriega of Panama. In 2000, the "Human Rights Watch" group released a report detailing the direct ties between SOA graduates and the Colombian army and paramilitary forces. Also, the head of the military under the illegal coup regime that seized power on June 28 in Honduras, General Romero Vásquez, and the head of the airforce, General Luis Suazo, are both graduates of the SOA.

These days, as the world-wide crisis of capitalism deepens, the U.S. monopolies are stepping up their exploitation of Latin America. Through the program of "globalization" and "neo-liberalism," the U.S. monopolies are demanding that all the resources and economic infrastructure of the continent be put at their disposal. It is in order to "protect" this empire and suppress the movements of the people for national liberation and social emancipation that U.S. imperialism keeps militarizing Latin America and waging war against the peoples.

The rally at Fort Benning demonstrates that opposition to the SOA, and U.S. intervention in Latin America, has strong and growing support throughout the country.