For a quarter of a century, the government has tried to silence them. It’s beaten them, spied on them, infiltrated their ranks, denied them permits, arrested them, strip-searched them, handed them steep fines and maximum sentences.
And yet they keep speaking out — determined to shut the doors of a secretive U.S. combat school for Latin American soldiers and to keep alive the memories of those tortured and killed by its graduates.
This November marks the 25th year that SOA Watch — a human rights group founded by Roy Bourgeois — has organized demonstrations outside Fort Benning, Ga., home of the U.S. Army’s controversial School of the Americas, known since 2001 as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.
The annual events began on Nov. 16, 1990, on the first anniversary of the murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador — murders carried out by SOA-trained officers.