By Ray Beckerman
Man's inhumanity to man and other living things threatens the whole human experiment. Let's fight it, and try to build a future.
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Electoral Delegation to Honduras: November 19-27, 2013 ~ @SOAWatch #humanrights
Join one of SOA Watch's upcoming election delegations to
Honduras and El Salvador!
Electoral Delegation to Honduras:
November 19-27, 2013
On November 24, elections will take place in Honduras, four
years after an SOA graduate led military coup ousted democratically elected
President Manuel Zelaya and unleashed intense repression and violence
nationwide. The national resistance movement formed in response to the coup
has created a new political party, LIBRE, that is running candidates for
President, Congress, and Mayor's offices throughout the country. SOA Watch
is inviting a small group to witness and report on the November
presidential election in Honduras. Across Honduras, there is hope that
these elections may bring relief to four years of spiraling repression and
violence, the imposition of extreme right-wing policies, land theft, an
erosion of sovereignty, "shock doctrine" neoliberal policies, and
an imploding economy.
LIBRE presidential candidate Xiomara Castro de Zelaya, wife of the deposed
president Manuel Zelaya, is leading the polls, but LIBRE candidates and
activists face repression, death threats, and understandably fear massive
fraud. The military currently patrols many parts of the country and human
rights violations are rampant. The delegation will be led by Brigitte
Gynther who has been in Honduras for the past year as a human rights
observer and coordinator of the SOA Watch's Stories of Honduras project.
Delegation fee of $950 includes lodging, all meals, and transportation
within Honduras. It does not include airfare to and from Honduras. Read
more about the delegation here.
El Salvador Electoral Delegation:
January 27-February 4, 2014
El Salvador continues to struggle with the violent legacy of
its civil war, a history that is unfortunately rife with the involvement of
SOA graduates. Salvadorans have also continued to fight against continued
impunity and for a change in the unequal social and economic structures
that have caused so much suffering. A recent victory was won in US courts
as SOA graduate Inocente Orlando Montano was sentenced for immigration
fraud after lying about his military past and probable involvement in the
murder of the 6 Jesuit priests from Spain and two Salvadorans in 1989 - the
event that we commemorate every November at the Vigil. We must celebrate
this victory against impunity, but we need to continue to monitor his case
and assure the US extradites him to Spain after he is released from US
In coordination with the Center for International Solidarity (CIS)
participants in this delegation will observe the Feb 2nd presidential
election. CIS has organized electoral observers in El Salvador in every
election since the 1992 Peace Accords. The delegation seeks to contribute
to free and fair elections; generate a safe environment to stimulate
democratic participation; observe and inform about the implementation of
election reforms; and deepen understanding of the social and economic
structures that govern the country, as well as the limits of electoral
The CIS Mission produces a final report which is presented to the Supreme
Election Tribunal as well as other important actors, as a tool to study the
electoral processes and to continue to implement electoral reforms. The
presence of international observers contributes to transparency, deters
fraud, and builds voter confidence, especially in rural areas where the
divisions and wounds of the war are still very present. Participants will
also learn about the Salvadoran national reality in an international
context, and engage with different groups that continue to fight for change
in El Salvador. The ways to exercise solidarity have changed and are
complex, but they are just as necessary as they were in the 1980s.
Delegation fee of $950 includes lodging, all meals, and transportation
within El Salvador. It does not include air fare to and from San Salvador.
The US has a long history of intervention and military aid in both Honduras
and El Salvador. In Honduras, US funded militarization is taking place
across the country, especially where people are standing up for their right
to land from privatization and corporate exploitation. For instance, the
Honduran military has been part of violent
evictions of 1,600 families in the Sula Valley of Honduras so that the
land can't be used for subsistence and sustainability but for a
multi-national corporation to profit from sugar plantations. Magdalena
Morales, the Regional Secretary for the National Center of Rural Workers,
and 51 other campesinos (small farmers) are being criminalized for
standing up for the right to land. They also face death threats and as
Magdalena explains, "when
we leave home we don't know if we will return alive or not." While
social movement leaders such as Magdalena are threatened and prosecuted for
struggling for justice, the military, police, and private assassins are let
off the hook for violent repression. This week, a San Pedro Sula court dismissed
charges against the current Director of the Preventative Police for his
role in the violent repression of demonstrators following the SOA-graduate
coup in 2009. The impunity generates continued violence and repression,
such as when two young fathers who had gone fishing one Saturday morning
were shot at by a Navy Officer or the murder of 3 Indigenous Tolupan
community members this past Sunday. The Tolupan community of Locomapa had
been carrying out a peaceful roadblock
against illegal mining in their territory when armed men connected to
the mine shot and killed them. Read more about recent events in Honduras on
of Honduras Page.
MORE RECENT NEWS FROM THE STRUGGLES FOR LAND AND LIBERTY IN
Don't Bomb Syria! As
the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria works hard to
gather pace, we can hear the drums of war in the White House, in Congress,
in the Pentagon, in the media, in the think tanks,in the offices of the
war-profiteers... but we, the people, are not silent. Fifty years after the
historic March on Washington, we continue the dream - of a world based on
justice, solidarity, mutual aid, dialogue, peace.The struggle did not end
in '63, and the spirit remains alive. International and national outrage is
growing in the face of new war, our solidarity is slowing the
imperialists... let's not stop now!
As Syrians wait to see if they will join the long list of nations the US
war-machine has bombed over the years, we say that no longer will we
tolerate more racist, imperialist wars. We reject the notion that bombing
Syrians will make them safer. There are no "military solutions,"
and the infusion of more violence, weapons and U.S. military training only
causes more death and suffering.
Mobilize your community and take a stand against militarism and empire.
Work to create a culture of justice and peace!
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