A Trip to Georgia To Close the School of Americas

When you feel that your country is doing something that it shouldn’t be doing, we who are lucky enough to live in the United
states should stand up and be heard. It would be a sad and dangerous country if nothing was said, no demonstrations made, to let the government know we are watching what they are doing.

So…..we (Roger and Marilyn Yockey) took the time to go down to Fort Benning in Georgia: to demonstrate, to march, to tell the US government that they should get out of the business of military training for Latin American soldiers.

During our trips to the various countries in Latin America it is hard not to see the military presence there. The latest and most disturbing was the trip to Honduras. The military and police were everywhere! There were many roadblocks with armed soldiers and police at these checkpoints.

The death of Archbishop Oscar Romero, a hero of the people in El Salvador; the deaths of Jean Donovan, Dorothy Kazell, Maura Clarke and Ita Ford, in El Salvador; the killing of the six Jesuits, their housekeeper and her daughter, also in El Salvador, plus the thousands of other men, women and children killed in Latin America have been traced to soldiers trained at the School of the Americas. The human rights abuses by SOA trained graduates continues today!

That is the reason for the “funeral procession” at the beginning of the demonstration. All of us who are marching are holding a white cross with the name and age of someone who has been killed by troops trained at the school. As we are marching around names are read aloud of the victims, we raise our crosses and cry out “PRESENTE”.

There were many university students that were part of this demonstration. I tried to get pictures of groups that were carrying a banner. The number of people participating were thousands. It was peaceful. One person, Nashua Chantal, went over the fence where he was arrested and will probably spend at least 6 months in a federal prison. This is a very solemn procession as you can see by the pictures below.

We do hope that all our children, our grandchildren will find causes they believe in, not be afraid what the world thinks and will act on their convictions. In our lifetime we have never seen anything “given” in the areas of justice and equality—it must be fought for over and over again.

 

Start of funeral procession at School of the Americas (SOA)

Start of funeral procession at School of the Americas (SOA)

 

Figures of death carrying the crosses with names, ages of those killed in Latin America by SOA trained soldiers.

Figures of death carrying the crosses with names, ages of those killed in Latin America by SOA trained soldiers.

 

Students from Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa.

Students from Loras College, Dubuque, Iowa.

 

 

Brother Domingo Solis from El Salvador, a Franciscan Friar and Marilyn Yockey, OFS

Brother Domingo Solis from El Salvador, a Franciscan Friar and Marilyn Yockey, OFS

 

 

Students from Xavier University.  There were many young people at the rally and march to close the School of the Americas.  Therewere also many religious women.

Students from Xavier University. There were many young people at the rally and march to close the School of the Americas. There
were also many religious women.

 

 

More marchers raising crosses and saying "Presente"

More marchers raising crosses and saying “Presente”

 

Nashua Chantal, 60, goes over the fence at the gates of Fort Benning.  He was arrested and faces six months in prison and a fine as a prisoner of conscience.

Nashua Chantal, 60, goes over the fence at the gates of Fort Benning. He was arrested and faces six months in prison and a fine as a prisoner of conscience.

 

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Published in: on December 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm  Comments (1)  

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  1. So good to know you were there too,Marilyn and Roger! The next logical step is for FAN members to “walk on the other foot” of advocacy by going to http://www.soaw.org/take-action/legislative/current-bills-and-actions/3812-hr-3368-112th-congress-2011-2012 to determine if their congresspersons have signed on as co-sponsors to HR 3368. And if those elected representatives haven’t yet done so, we need to inform them of the issue and urge them to sign on. Thanks for your being at the SOAW convergence. Hope that next year we can go there and celebrate the passage of the bill to close it until its practices are investigated.


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