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SOA Watch Activists Block Entrance of Military Base, Demand Withdrawal of U.S. Troops from Colombia

August 6, 2010

(This article is re-posted from SOA Watch.)

A group of nine School of the Americas Watch activists are currently in Colombia to confront the escalation of U.S. policy in the region and to express solidarity with courageous Colombians working for peace and justice. On Tuesday, the group set up a vigil at the Tolemaida military base, where U.S. soldiers are stationed.

Yesterday, two busloads of 65 activists from Justicia y Paz, the Movement of Victims of State Crimes, the Mothers of Soacha (who are seeking justice for their children who were killed as part of the “false positive” scandal), SINALTRAINAL, and others arrived to join the 9-member SOA Watch delegation, who proceeded to block the entrance to the base. Activists held banners denouncing US intervention in Colombia as well as Iraq.

Father Roy Bourgeois said of the action: “It’s a great joy to be in Colombia speaking with Colombians, with one voice, against U.S. domination and militarization. Our delegation has been deeply moved by the strength and spirit of so many Colombians struggling for a just peace in Colombia.”

The Tolemaida military base is one of seven Colombian bases to which the U.S. military has been granted access for 10 years under the U.S.-Colombia Defense Cooperation Agreement, which was signed in October 2009. The agreement has been met with opposition by Colombian and international human rights groups. It caused tensions in the region after a U.S. Air Force document became public that revealed that the United States military is planning to use the seven Colombian bases for “full spectrum operations throughout South America” against threats not only from drug trade and guerrilla movements, but also from “anti-U.S. governments” in the region.

Later today the SOA Watch delegation will leave the area and travel to Bogotá, is the capital city of Colombia. Tomorrow, the group will go to the U.S. embassy in Bogotá. Amplify the voices for justice and peace in Colombia by contacting ambassador Brownsfield now. Call the U.S. embassy in Colombia at 011-571-315-0811 and send an email by clicking on this link.

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