[Sayma-Discuss] soa update!!!

Quakerkristi at aol.com Quakerkristi at aol.com
Thu Oct 11 12:31:47 EDT 2007

Evo Morales Announces:  "No More Bolivian Soldiers to the SOA/WHINSEC!" 
We are very excited to announce that  President Evo Morales announced Tuesday 
that Bolivia will gradually withdraw its  military from the Western 
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation  (WHINSEC), formerly known as the School 
for the Americas (SOA). Bolivia is now  the fifth country after Costa Rica, 
Argentina, Uruguay and Venezuela to formally  announce a withdrawal from the 

"We will gradually withdraw  until there are no Bolivian officers attending 
the School of the Americas,"  said Morales. Questioning the U.S. government's 
foreign policy he noted that  "they are teaching high ranking officers to 
confront their own people, to  identify social movements as their enemies." 

This is a great victory  for torture survivors, social movement leaders and 
human rights activists of  Bolivia and the Americas. The SOA/WHINSEC has played 
a significant role in  Bolivia's recent political history, Hugo Banzer Suarez,
 who ruled Bolivia from  1971-1978 under a brutal military dictatorship 
attended the school in 1956 and  was later inducted into the school's "hall of 
fame" in 1988. The SOA has trained  tens of thousands of Bolivian military 
officers in the past fifty years. In  October of 2006, two former graduates of the 
SOA/WHINSEC, Generals Juan Veliz  Herrera and Gonzalo Rocabado Mercado were 
arrested on charges of torture,  murder, and violation of the constitution for 
their responsibility in the death  of 67 civilians in El Alto Bolivia during the 
"Gas Wars" of September-October  2003. 

In March 2006 a School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) delegation led  by Lisa 
Sullivan-Rodriguez, Salvadoran torture survivor Carlos Mauricio, and SOA  Watch 
founder Father Roy Bourgeois met with President Evo Morales to request  that 
Bolivia cease to send troops for training at the SOA/WHINSEC.  

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