[mgj-discuss] Opposition to Neoliberal Policy met by U.S. Militarism
hvoss at soaw.org
Wed Jul 23 22:19:57 EDT 2003
The United States' main goal in the FTAA process is to secure economic and
political hegemony over the Western Hemisphere through the FTAA. The
Georgia-based School of the Americas (SOA), recently renamed the Western
Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, a combat training facility
for Latin American soldiers has a crucial role in this project. This
school has also become known as the 'School of Assassins'.
Soldiers at the SOA are trained to protect the interests of U.S.
corporations and maintain the economic status quo for the few rich and
powerful in the U.S. and their cohorts in Latin America.
In official SOA publications "economic development along free market
principles" is identified as the "primary foreign policy goal[s] of the
U.S." in Latin America. The SOA strategy is "to prepare military and
police forces to respond to current threats to the achievement of those
For example, in Mexico, hours after NAFTA went into effect, indigenous
communities rose up to say "No!" The Mexican military moved in immediately
with troops, helicopters, and artillery. At least 18 of the high-level
officers involved in the civilian-targeted warfare are SOA graduates.
In Colombia, recent reports from Human Rights Watch and the U.S. State
Department link SOA-trained soldiers to numerous peasant massacres and the
assassinations of Labor leaders and striking workers.
Last year the Bolivian government sold the public water system of
Cochabamba to a private corporation and the water rates immediately
doubled and at times tripled. As thousands peacefully took the streets,
Bolivian President and former military dictator, SOA graduate Hugo Banzer
sent out the armed forces to attack civilians.
Gen. Walter Cespedes Raallo, Military Governor of Cochabamba, is an SOA
grad as well. In 1998, while he was Commander of the Joint Task Force in
the Chapre coca region, the level of state sponsored violence escalated.
Fifteen farmers were killed and others were brutally tortured. Cespedes
was indicted for negligent homicide in three of these deaths, but the case
is slow to move forward because of death threats against the prosecution
and human rights workers.
It is no surprise that as state sponsored violence is used to support
economic injustice against the people in Latin America, graduates of the
'School of Assassins' are consistently at the forefront.
To learn more about the connection between economic oppression and miltary
repression and how the SOA trains the military muscle to enforce the free
trade agenda and, order the new video 'Guns and Greed' ($13 from SOA
Watch) and/or join DC area activists on Thursday, July 24th 2003 at 7 PM
in the Fleming Center for a public screening (more info:
SOA Watch ~ PO Box 4566 ~ Washington DC ~ 20017 ~ www.soaw.org ~ (202) 234
3440 ~ info at soaw.org
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