Weekend Voices 9/12/09

Executive Producer/Editor/Host: Amy Browne
Audio recorded/contributed by John Greenman
Topic: Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, speaking in Maine
Over the years WERU has reported extensively—here on Voices, as well as on RadioActive—on efforts to close the School of the Americas, also known as the school of the assassins. The school is located at Ft. Benning, in Georgia, and in recent years the name has been changed to the Western Hemisphere Institute on Security Cooperation, but critics see that as mere “newspeak”. Soldiers from Latin America that have received training at the school have returned to their countries and committed notorious atrocities, including assassinations, killing civilians and church workers, and engaging in military coups—most recently in Honduras.

In the 1980s SOA graduates engaged in a reign of terror in El Salvador, and drew international attention when they murdered several Priests and their staff, and raped and murdered nuns and Catholic workers. Two of the nuns were friends of Father Roy Bourgeois, a Vietnam Veteran who worked with the poor, in the tradition of Liberation Theology, in Bolivia. In 1990, Father Roy, as he is known, founded the “School of the Americas Watch”, and he has worked tirelessly since that time to make the crimes of the school’s graduates known, and to convince the U.S. government to close it down. With legislation in Congress that may make that goal closer to reality than ever, Father Roy Bourgeois spoke at the University of Maine on Thursday. His talk was sponsored by Maine Peace Action Committee at the University of Maine, UMaine’s Peace and Reconciliation Program, the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, the Jim Harney chapter of Veterans for Peace, PICA (Peace through InterAmerican Community Action), the UMaine Office of Multicultural Programs, Pax Christi, and Peace Action Maine. He’s introduced by Doug Allen of the University’s Department of Philosophy, and local peace and justice groups.
More information about School of the Americas Watch, the legislation to close the school, and the annual vigil that draws thousands every November, is available at www.soaw.org Be sure to also check WERU’s audio archives for reports on this issue that have aired on RadioActive and Voices over the years.