The ICPJ Latin America Caucus devotes itself to education and action on Latin America concerns, especially U.S. policy in that region. It stands in solidarity with the movement to close the U.S. Army’s Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC, formerly the School of Americas), as it’s graduates have committed atrocities across Latin America, leading many to consider it to be a “School of Assassins.” The Task Force also organizes educational programs about the U.S. military presence in Latin America and how corporate globalization affects the poor in that region. Call (734) 663-1870 or email [email protected] to get involved.
History of the School of the Americas/WHINSEC
The School of the Americas was established in 1946 in Panama as a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. It has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. Graduates of SOA have consistently used their training to wage war on their own people. Common targets include, educators, union leaders, religious workers, student organizers, and others working for the rights of the poor.
Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared”, massacred, or forced to become refugees by those trained at the School of the Americas.
In 1984 it was kicked out of Panama under terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former President of Panama, Jorge Illueca, stated that the SOA was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” Since being removed from Panama, the SOA has been relocated to Fort Benning, Georgia.In 2001, the SOA was renamed “The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation”, but it largely remains the same organization.
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