PLEASE, Yankies and Canadians HELP Roy Bourgeois
Twenty months ago, masked soldiers armed with automatic weapons burst into the bedroom of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, ordering him to board a plane, or die. The plane refueled at the US airbase of Palmerola, then flew on to Costa Rica where it dumped the elected president on the runway, in his pajamas. The soldiers were operating under the command of two SOA graduates: Generals Vázquez Velázquez and Prince Suazo.
Honduras is certainly not the only example of how soldiers trained at the SOA have obliterated the sovereignty, dignity and very lives of people throughout Latin America. But, it is the most recent egregious example. Today - twenty months after the coup and ensuing illegal "elections" - Honduras continues to bleed. Over 4,000 grave violations of human rights have been registered since the coup, including 64 political assassinations since the U.S. approved "election" of Porfirio Lobo.
But Honduras also continues to resist. And, in the resistance movement, comprised of teachers, farmers, trade unionists, feminists, journalists, gay rights activists, indigenous communities, and progressive religious groups, I find some of my greatest inspiration today.
I invite you to join me on a delegation to Honduras, from April 30 to May 9, so that we can bring our message of solidarity directly to the Honduras Resistance. We will do so in the spirit of Father James "Guadalupe" Carney, a St. Louis Jesuit priest whose commitment to the poor campesinos of that country led him to make decisions that ultimately led to his disappearance in 1983, under orders of another SOA graduate, General Gustavo Alvarez Martínez.
We will meet with Resistance leaders, human rights activists, journalists, workers and campesino organizations struggling to return democracy to their nation, and will visit places that marked the extraordinary life of Fr. Guadalupe, and led him to choose a path of radical commitment to the poor. In addition, we will visit the U.S. military base at Palmerola which played a role in the 2009 coup and is receiving more US funds, troops and drones.
This is a special benefit delegation. Proceeds will go to the SOA Watch "Activantia" program that invites young people from around the Americas to work together to resist militarization and promote a culture of peace. One of these SOA Watch activantes, Jimena Paz, has organized this delegation to share with others the reality of her country: the pain of repression, the hope of the resistance.
In order to facilitate quality sharing, this delegation will be limited to a small size. If you are interested, I invite you to fill out an application, and return it by March 15 to Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org. Click here to download the application form. Lisa is also available to answer any questions you may have about the delegation.
Solidarity takes on many important forms: letters, emails, marches, lobbying, But there is no more powerful way to express your solidarity than to deliver the message in person. And no more transformative way for yourself. After my previous visits to Honduras, I returned with an even greater commitment to the people of Latin America, and with a deeper reserve of inspiration. Join me in bringing your solidarity directly to the Honduran resistance and in doing so, fortify your hope for the cause of peace and justice in our Americas.
Before flying to Honduras on April 30, I will travel to Washington, DC for a week long fast to close the SOA during the SOA Watch Days of Action from April 4-10, 2011. On Sunday, April 10, I will engage in a nonviolent direct action at the White House. I believe that we must up the ante, push the envelope, and risk arrest in order to call attention to the continued training of repressive troops at the School of the Americas and the accelerating U.S. militarization of the Americas. Please consider joining me in the fast and the nonviolent direct action in Washington, DC. Contact our field organizer Nico in the SOA Watch office in DC at 202-234-3440 for more information about the fast and the action.
Thank you for all that you do to work for a world of peace and justice.
Father Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
SOA Watch founder
Roy Bourgeois is an American activist. He was ordained a priest in the Maryknoll order of the Roman Catholic Church and is founder of the human rights group SOA Watch.
Father Bourgeois was excommunicated latae sententiae for his participation in a women's ordination ceremony in August 2008.
In July 2010, feeling it necessary to avoid any appearance of endorsing his views on women's ordination, his order revoked its $17,500-a-year funding support for School of the Americas Watch
Bourgeois was born in Lutcher, Louisiana in 1938. He attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana and graduated with a bachelor of science degree in geology.
After graduation, Bourgeois entered the United States Navy and served as an officer for four years. He spent two years at sea, one year at a station in Europe, and one year in Vietnam. He received the Purple Heart during a tour of duty in Vietnam.
After military service, he entered the seminary of the Catholic religious order|Maryknoll Missionary Order. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972 and sent to Bolivia.
1972-1975 Fr. Bourgeois spent five years in Bolivia aiding the poor before being arrested and deported for attempting to overthrow Bolivian dictator General Hugo Banzer.
1980 Fr. Bourgeois became an outspoken critic of US foreign policy in Latin America after four American churchwomen, Sister Maura Clarke, Jean Donovan, Sister Ita Ford, and Sister Dorothy Kazel, were raped and killed by a death squad consisting of soldiers from the Salvadoran National Guard.
1990 Fr. Bourgeois founded the School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch), an organization that seeks to close the School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001, through nonviolent protest.
1998 Fr. Bourgeois testified before a Spanish judge seeking the extradition of Chile's ex-dictator General Augusto Pinochet.
2008 In August 2008, Fr. Bourgeois participated in and delivered the homily at the ordination ceremony of Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a member of Womenpriests, at a Unitarian Universalist church in Lexington, Kentucky. Fr. Bourgeois received a 30 days' notice as of October 21, 2008 regarding possible excommunication for this action. He was later fully excommunicated.
* Pax Christi USA Pope Paul VI Teacher of Peace Award (1997)
* Thomas Merton Award (2005)
"Father Roy: Inside the School of Assassins - Full Movie"
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