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SOAW: Argentina & Uruguay abandon School of the Americas

From SOA Watch:  

www.SOAW.org  

202-234-3440

Update, March 28, 2006 SOA Watch Breaking News & Update

Critical victory for human rights organizations across the Americas We are thrilled to tell you that, after meeting with representatives of human rights organizations and the three SOA Watch activists Carlos Mauricio, Lisa Sullivan and Fr. Roy Bourgeois, the governments of Argentina and Uruguay have agreed to stop sending soldiers to train at the School of the Americas (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 the school.

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!

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