Thursday, September 5, 2013

Electoral Delegation to Honduras: November 19-27, 2013 ~ @SOAWatch #humanrights

SOA Watch News & Updates

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.

For more information contact Brigitte Gynther:

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 prison.

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 politics.

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.

For more information contact Lisa Sullivan:

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 the Stories of Honduras Page.

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!

The movement to close the SOA is a community, and all ideas are welcome.
We appreciate any feedback you might have -- positive or negative.
Click here to contact SOA Watch with any questions or concerns.
SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017

To make a donation to support the movement, please visit
To make a tax deductible donation, please visit