Binational vigil at US-Mexico border protests US state violence
Over the weekend, while much of the country was preoccupied with the scandal-plagued state of electoral politics, hundreds of activists gathered at the U.S.-Mexico border for a demonstration of multilateral unity. Headed by the organization School of the Americas Watch, or SOA Watch, this convergence brought attention to the human rights dimension of immigration and foreign policy, taking aim at U.S. practices that contribute to displacement and violence in Latin America and beyond.
In keeping with SOA Watch’s 26-year legacy, activists called for a close of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, a U.S. Army program that trains Latin American law enforcement and soldiers in the “Profession of Arms.” The program, based in Fort Benning, Georgia, was initially established in Panama in 1946, and in the 1960s was tasked explicitly with an “anti-communist” agenda. Since its founding, the SOA/WHINSEC has graduated over 64,000 trainees, including many military and political leaders accused of brutalizing their constituents and crushing political dissent.
(read more at Waging Nonviolence)