Half-Hour for Haiti

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Call Wednesday to Close the School of the Americas
Half-Hour for Haiti
Congress Votes this Week to Cut Funding to the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC. SOA Watch has received confirmation that this week Congress will vote on an amendment to close the School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/ WHINSEC). Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts will introduce an amendment to the Foreign Operations appropriations bill to cut funding for the school!
    
Please take the time to call the DC office of your Representative through the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative assistant.
 
Update: Some great news: two articles on Haiti, both dealing with MINUSTAH attacks on Cite Soleil, have been selected as finalists for the “Most Censored” news story of 2006-2007 by Project Censored. One, by Wadner Pierre of the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux and Jeb Sprague of HaitiAnalysis.com, is Poor Residents of Capitol Describe UN State of Siege (February 27, 2007). The other by Kevin Pina of the Haiti Information Project, is UN in Haiti accused of second massacre in Cité Soleil (January 21, 2007). Project Censored compiles an annual list of 25 news stories of social significance that have been overlooked, under-reported or self-censored by the major national news media of the U.S. Congratulations to Kevin, Jeb and Wadner, for this well-deserved recognition, and thank you for pursuing the truth in the streets of Haiti, under difficult and dangerous conditions.

Coming Attractions: On Friday June 22, the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta will feature a workshop on Haiti, titled: “From Thomas Jefferson to George Bush:  203 Years of Keeping Haiti Down,” with Dany Glover, Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste,  Haitian labor leaders Duclos Benissoit and Lexeuste Cajuste, Nicole Lee of TransAfrica Forum, Pierre Labossiere of the Haiti Action Committee and Brian Concannon of IJDH. Seeding Hope in Haiti, a Pax Christi speaking tour will be in Buffalo, Erie, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville and Memphis over the next week.

This week’s alert: Haiti’s poor, like the poor elsewhere in Latin America, have long suffered at the hands of security personnel trained at U.S. military training facilities, from the original members of the Haitian Army founded in the 1920’s through the Duvaliers and up to Guy Philippe, a leader in the 2004 overthrow of Haiti’s elected government (for more information, see School of the Americas: the Haitian Case).
One of the most notorious training centers is the “WHINSEC”, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas (SOA).

School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) has worked tirelessly, year after year, to stop U.S. training of violent security personnel from Latin America, including Haiti. That hard work has been paying off over the past year: the governments of Costa Rica, Argentina and Uruguay promised to stop sending soldiers to the WHINSEC, and now Rep. Jim McGovern has filed an amendment to a foreign operations bill that would defund the center. That amendment will be voted on this week in the House of Representatives. SOA Watch is asking all of us to call on Wednesday to urge our Representatives to vote in favor of the amendment. SOA Watch is predicting a very close vote, so your call could make the difference.

School of the Americas Watch
www.SOAW.org | 202-234-3440 | Click to subscribe

Action Alert!
June 19, 2007
 
Here is a suggested message for you to convey:

 

"I am calling Representative ________ to urge her/him to vote YES on the McGovern amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. This amendment is a cut in funding for the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC. New information indicates that WHINSEC has allowed known human rights abusers to instruct and receive training at the school. The governments of Costa Rica, Argentina and Uruguay have made public announcements they will no longer send students to the school, citing the negative image and history of this institution. Voting YES on this amendment sends a positive human rights message to Latin America and will help to improve the U.S. image abroad. As an elected official in Washington D.C., I hope you will represent me and vote YES on any amendment in the House that would cut funding for the school."

 

Click here to send an email and fax to your Representative(Don't forget to click the "Send a Fax" box to have the fax sent)

We expect a close vote in the House this week, and we need as many people as possible flooding the offices of Members of Congress with calls in support of a YES vote on the amendment! We need you to call, email and fax Congress every day until the vote happens. Tell your family and friends to do the same!

It's been a year since our last vote in Congress, and the work of thousands of people like you across the Americas who care about justice has gotten us to where we are today. Let's seize this opportunity to make history in the defense for human rights!

Visit the Legislative Action Index for more information.

 

BACKGROUND INFORMATION - The School of the Americas is a military training facility for Latin American security personnel located at Fort Benning, Georgia that made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this shocking admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the training facility has ever taken place. Read more at http://www.SOAW.org.

For more information,visit the SOA Watch website at http://www.soaw.org and the Legislative Action Index

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For more information about the Half-Hour for Haiti Program, the Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti, or human rights in Haiti, see www.HaitiJustice.org. To receive Half-Hour for Haiti Action Alerts once per week, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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