mardi, avril 04, 2006

torturous

Most Americans are blissfully ignorant of Latin American history. We are even more ignorant of our government's role in shaping much of Latin America's awful past. The more I've learned, the more outraged I've become.

I learned that the CIA captured Che Guevarra (who was subsequently murdered by the Bolivian Army) when writing a paper on (of all things) terrorism in Northern Ireland as an undergrad. That triggered my enrollment in Michael Monteón's "Subverting Sovereignty: U.S. Aggression in Latin America" class. It was there that I first heard about ITT and Dole and the roughshod manner in which U.S.-owned corporations dictated foreign policy. That summer, I also got my knickers in a serious twist when I studied the U.S. Army's School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001) and the thousands of killers it has trained.

So when I saw this article on Uruguay's recent notice to the U.S. government that it would no longer take part in the SOA, I was interested ...
La Escuela de las Américas, conocida como la "Universidad de los Asesinos" y cuya clausura definitiva reclama un grupo de organizaciones humanitarias norteamericanas en gira por el continente, brindó 1.068 cursos a 1.020 uruguayos desde su fundación en 1946.

Entre sus egresados se encuentran varios de los oficiales militares uruguayos denunciados por violaciones a los derechos humanos en los años de la dictadura (1973-1985), a quienes se responsabiliza por torturas, secuestros, asesinatos y desapariciones dentro y fuera del territorio nacional.
And in agreement with this characterization of the SOA's reason for existence as essentially being about training soldiers to defend the economic interests of the U.S. ...
El padre Roy Bourgeois, un sacerdote norteamericano de la católica orden Maryknoll, que lidera la organización "SOA Watch", no duda al definir la función que ha cumplido la Escuela de las Américas: "Su rol ha sido, entrenar militares para defender los intereses económicos de Estados Unidos", dice.
Leo summarized it nicely:
The Good: What having a responsible left wing government can do for a country.

The Bad: Apparently, Uruguay was not allowed to take courses anyway, because it will not ratify an agreement to exempt U.S. military from responsibility before the ICC.

The Ugly: It's nice to see that after 20 years of democracy, Uruguay was still keeping open the option to train torturers on the CIA's dime.

1 commentaire:

O a dit…

I've been following a lot of Latin America's history, too. I took every L.A. class in the Poli Sci dept at UCSD.

I recently talked to a Chilean friend of mine a day after the inauguration of their new president, and she broke down in tears because she was so happy that a single divorced mother of two was elected to lead the most conservative & Catholic country in South America.

All eyes are on Peru and their upcoming election. A lot of articles have been written lately about how Latin America has been a complete disaster for the Bush administration, and now people on Capitol Hill are whispering "Monroe Doctrine" because China's making friendly with Brazil. News at 11.