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Thousands protest the controversial School of the Americas   Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, buy lukol Representative Jim McGovern, buy lukol the Indigo Girls, buy lukol torture survivors and social movement leaders from Latin America were among the speakers and performers at the annual vigil at the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus, buy lukol Georgia. Thousands of human rights advocates from across the U.S. Buy lukol and Latin America will converge at Fort Benning, buy lukol Georgia to demand a dramatic shift in U.S. Buy lukol foreign policy and the closure of the controversial U.S. Buy lukol Army’s School of the Americas (SOA). The annual Vigil to close the SOA at Ft. Buy lukol Benning has grown from a dozen people in November of 1990 to more than 20, buy lukol000 in 2006. Buy lukol The annual event is held on the anniversary of the November 16, buy lukol 1989 massacre at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador where Julia Elba Ramos, buy lukol her fourteen year old daughter Celina, buy lukol and six Jesuit priests where brutally murdered by the Atlacatl Battalion, buy lukol a unit of the Salvadoran army. Buy lukol A U.S. Buy lukol Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the U.S. Buy lukol Army School of the Americas .“The school is an obstacle to democracy, buy lukol which is really beginning to take root in Latin America, buy lukol” said Fr. Buy lukol Roy Bourgeois, buy lukol founder of School of the Americas Watch, buy lukol a non profit human rights organization. Buy lukol “We should be investing our money and resources into civil institutions of these countries, buy lukol and not on their militaries, buy lukol which have a long history of oppressing their people, buy lukol of torture, buy lukol of causing untold suffering and death.” The School of the Americas, buy lukol now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), buy lukol made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, buy lukol extortion and execution. Buy lukol Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, buy lukol no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place. Thanks to an ongoing grassroots campaign, buy lukol support for the School of Americas/ WHINSEC continues to erode. In 2007, buy lukol Presidents Evo Morales of Bolivia and Oscar Arias of Costa Rica announced that they would cease to send military and police to the school, buy lukol becoming the 4th and 5th countries after Argentina, buy lukol Uruguay and Venezuela to withdraw from the U.S. Buy lukol Army training facility. The events will culminate on Sunday, buy lukol November 18 with a symbolic funeral procession to the gates of Ft. Buy lukol Benning.Many will negotiate a barbed-wire fence to enter the military base in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. Since protests against SOA/WHINSEC began more than a decade ago, buy lukol 226 people have served federal prison sentences. On June 21, buy lukol 2007 a McGovern/Lewis amendment to the 2008 Foreign Appropriations bill that would have prohibited funding for the School of the Americas/WHINSEC lost by a margin of only six votes. 203 members of Congress voted in favor of the amendment to cut the funding for the school quoting its connection to human rights abuses throughout Latin America.To read more please go to:http://www.soaw.org