SOAW Vigil Speakers from Honduras and Costa Rica Denied Visas to the U.S.

This alert was originally circulated by School of the Americas Watch.

The two speakers named by the SOA Watch’s Latin American partners to represent them at the SOA Watch vigil (Nov. 19-21, 2010) have been denied entrance to the United States. Both Gerardo Brenes – a Costa Rican graduate of the SOA and activist with the Quaker Peace Center in San Jose, and Alejandro Ramirez – a university student and activist with the Youth Resistance movement in Honduras, had their visa applications rejected by the U.S. embassies in their countries last week. Click here to take action.

Gerardo and Alejandro were among participants from 17 Latin American countries at the recent SOAW South-North Encuentro. They were tapped to bring the Encuentro’s major concerns about the SOA and U.S. militarization in Latin America to the gates of Ft. Benning.

Gerardo is a former Costa Rica police officer and would have been the first graduate of the SOA to speak out against the school in front of his Alma Mater. His experience of the absolute disregard for human rights in his SOA training led him to become a leading activist in pressuring his government to withdraw from the school. Click here to watch a video interview with Gerardo. Gerardo has also been a public voice in speaking out against 46 U.S. warships and thousands of marines that were granted permission to be sent to this Central American “country of peace”.

Alejandro became an active member of the Honduran Youth Resistance Movement after his country suffered a coup at the hands of two SOA graduates last year. Over 50 people – journalists, teachers, students and union leaders, have lost their lives for opposing the coup regime and its illegal successor . Alejandro is a history student at the National Autonomous University of Honduras and works with COFADEH (Committee of Family Members of Detained and Disappeared in Honduras) in their violence prevention program.

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