And now a word from a very important organization...
SOA Watch delegations to Mexico, Chile and Venezuela
2012: Uniting Our Struggles
Saludos calurosos desde Santiago, Chile! Warm greetings from Santiago, Chile, where the the summer of the southern hemisphere has just begun.
As this new year unfolds, we often take the time to think about our hopes for our family, our country, our planet.
My own hopes for my country and for Latin America and the Caribbean are overflowing. Just as the Arab Spring brought a spark of hope to many parts of our planet, so the Chilean Spring brought a burst of light to our region. The source of that light: the youth of my country.
A full generation after General Pinochet forced a rapacious economic system of privatization on my country (costing the lives of 3,000 Chileans), the students of my nation have begun to push back, effectively. The daughters of those who were disappeared by SOA graduates, along with the sons of those who were imprisoned and tortured (as was I), have joined their fellow students in taking the streets to say BASTA! As they demand the right to a free public education they have been so eloquent, so brave, and so effective that all have taken notice: even the mass media)
Delegation to Chile, March 15-23
I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to join me in experiencing this new and youthful hope arising in Chile. From March 15-23 I will be leading an SOA Watch delegation to Chile, organized by our local Chilean SOA Watch group. In addition to meeting with student leaders, we will be meeting with leaders of the original Mapuche people who are struggling to reclaim their native lands. We will also visit the homes of poet Pablo Neruda and singer-songwriter Victor Jara, another victim of the SOA. Today, their poetic voices of hope mix with the new voices of the youth and the original peoples of my land. Download a PDF of the delegation flyer here.
Delegation to the Mexico-US border, February 12-19
I also invite you to consider joining SOA staff on two other delegations to Latin America. Fr. Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch Field Organizer Nico Udu-gama will be bringing an SOA Watch delegation to the US/Mexico border from February 12-19. Just as the SOA has become a concrete expression of unjust US policy towards Latin America, so has the border become the symbol of injustice, violence and tragedy unleashed on Latin America under the guise of the "War on Drugs". In the midst of tragedy, however, local groups have been coming together to bring peace and dignity to their communities. I invite you to take a stand and experience both this heartbreak and this inspiration by coming to the border of Ciudad Juarez and El Paso.
Delegation to Venezuela, April 5-14
SOA Watch Latin America Liaison Lisa Sullivan will be leading another delegation to Venezuela, where she has lived for 26 years. The delegation (click here to download the PDF), co-sponsored by the Marin Task Force on the Americas will take place from April 5-14, in conjunction with the tenth anniversary of the people's overturn of the 2002 coup. This historic victory for Latin American sovereignty unleashed a decade of similar struggles that has culminated in last month's inauguration in Caracas of CELAC, a new organization that brings together all the nations of Latin America and the Caribbean. Another focus of the delegation will be on initiatives of food sovereignty. Immediately following this delegation,the Summit of the Americas will be taking place in neighboring Cartagena, Colombia, and participants may elect to add this trip to their itinerary. Or, consider taking your knowledge, returning to DC, and lobbying your representative during the April Days of Action!
Please contact Lisa Sullivan (LSullivan@soaw.org) for information and applications on any of these delegations.
Hope is rising in 2012 from every direction. I invite you to experience the hope that is rising from the South, a flicker of light that refuses to extinguish, even in the midst of challenge and turmoil.
SOAW Latin America Coordinator