Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Martin Sheen to join @SOAWatch this coming weekend!

SOA Watch News & Updates

We just received news that renowned actor/ director Martin Sheen is going to join SOA Watch for the November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia (November 18-20, 2011). Martin Sheen is a tireless activist for social and environmental causes, and has taken a leadership role in the campaign to close the SOA. He has previously crossed the line onto Fort Benning and risked arrest in protest against the School of the Americas.

Other featured speakers at the rally include Honduran human rights activist Jimena Paz, NAACP State President Edward DuBose, Mario Joseph from Haiti, speakers from the Sisters of Mercy, the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA), torture survivors and human rights activists from Latin America and many others.

Join us at the gates of Fort Benning and take a stand for dignity, justice, solidarity, and self-determination.

The three day convergence will include a massive rally, where thousands will occupy the main gates of the Fort Benning military base in order to transform it from a place that trains assassins to a place of initiation into political awareness. On Sunday, November 20, the chain-linked barbed wire fence will be transformed with images of the martyrs, crosses, stars and flowers into a memorial for the victims of SOA violence and U.S. intervention. The mobilization will include plenaries, workshops, concerts, strategy sessions and more. Click here for a complete Schedule of Events.

Join the Puppetistas
Every year, prior to the November Vigil, a creative, sometimes crazy, certainly zany cast of characters gather in Columbus, Georgia from around the country, organize themselves as the inspired Puppetistas and create the puppets and pageantry that has become an integral expression of the SOA Watch resistance movement.

You too could be amongst them, building puppets from discarded cardboard, planning, painting, plotting, cooking and eating together, learning to walk on stilts, or how to turn a bucket into a drum to beat the messages of social justice and hope. All are welcome, all are valued. Come for a week, a day, 2 hours, or see us on the days of the rally and find the role for you.

For more information and directions to the puppet building warehouse in Columbus, call Jake at (203) 843-7444.

Engage in Nonviolent Direct Action
Some human rights activists will chose to carry their protest against the School of the Americas onto the grounds of the military base, risking arrest and up to six month in federal prison.

If you are planning to cross the line onto Fort Benning or if you want to engage in other forms of nonviolent direct action during the November Vigil, please contact directaction@soaw.org

Contact your Local Media
The story of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC and of you taking part in the campaign to close down the SOA/WHINSEC is not only newsworthy but a great story!

Let local media outlets, newspapers, TV, community radio stations - know about your participation in the SOA Watch November Vigil.

Media coverage significantly magnifies the voice of those working for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC and a more just world. Taking a little time to do media outreach can profoundly impact the number of people in your area who know about the SOA/WHINSEC and the number of people who get involved in the work to close it down!

Click here for a sample press release you can use in your media outreach (The file will open on your computer as a Word document)

Click here to find contact information for your local media.
Follow up with a phone call to the media outlets that you contacted (to see the phone numbers, click on the name of the media outlet after you enter your ZIP code in the local media search page).
Costa Rica's Government sued over sending its police forces to be trained at the School of the Americas (WHINSEC)

On November 13, 2011, Costa Rican lawyer and peace advocate Luis Roberto Zamora filed suit against the Costa Rican government for sending police to the School of the Americas/WHINSEC.

The suit, filed before Costa Rica's Supreme Court, accuses former Costa Rican President Oscar Arias of failing to comply with the legal and binding commitment he made to withdraw police from the SOA/WHINSEC. Arias notified WHINSEC of this decision shortly after his 2007 meeting with the San Jose Centro de Amigos and and an SOA Watch delegation.

The lawyer argues the the 2007 declaration, made by President and Nobel Peace Laureate Oscar Arias, to stop sending sending more police to the School of the Americas given its role in human rights abuses, constitutes a unilateral obligation of international law, binding for the Government of Costa Rica, consequently, the sending of police couldn't have resumed.

Wikileaks revealed in March 2011 that Security Ministry and Oscar Arias bent to pressure from the US Embassy in San Jose, agreeing to an ilegal plan to renew the sending of police to the SOA. According to the cable, Security Minister Fernando Berrocal would request Arias permission to send cops again to the military school, and Arias wouldn't reply. This would allow Berrocal to proceed in a way that would protect the image of Nobel Peace Laureate Arias, who would avoid having to make a public announcement. Such action has been claimed by the lawyer both contrary to the law and contrary to the binding principle of good faith.

The lawyer also argues that any relation to such schools results incompatible with the Costa Rican peace constitution and as such, should be prohibited.

Luis Roberto Zamora will be at the SOA Watch Vigil in Georgia and will speak from the stage at the gates of Fort Benning and also present a workshop in the Columbus Convention Center.

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Please make a donation to help cover the cost of the November Vigil.

Contact us.

Our mailing address is:
SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, D.C. 20017, USA

Our telephone: (202) 234 3440

Click here to fund the campaign to close the SOA.

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