16 September 2013
CPT INTERNATIONAL: CPT Americas Convergence to participate in School of the Americas witness at Fort Benning, 20-24 November
by Sarah Thompson
Join us this November for the first ever CPT Americas Convergence in Georgia, USA. CPTers and supporters from Turtle Island (North America) to the Southern Cone will gather for five days of formative events including worship, public protest, fellowship, accompaniment, and the opportunity for nonviolent direct action Wednesday, 20 November through Sunday, 24 November 2013.
CPT will partner with the Alterna Community and former Steering Committee member Anton Flores-Maisonet, based in LaGrange, GA to participate in an annual public witness and civil disobedience action at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin. Stewart, a privately run prison, is the largest immigrant detention center in the United States. Alterna and Georgia Detention Watch have long monitored this facility, documenting violations of human rights and detention standards and organizing vigils to remember the detainees trapped there as well as Roberto Martínez Medina who died while in detention at Stewart.
Following the witness in Lumpkin, CPT will join thousands gathered at the gates of Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA to call for the closure of the infamous U.S. Army School of the Americas (SOA). Since 1946, this “School of Assassins” has trained over 64,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, psychological warfare, military intelligence, and interrogation tactics. SOA graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people, targeting educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. They have tortured, raped, “disappeared,” assassinated, and massacred hundreds and thousands of Latin Americans. Although the official name changed in 2001 from SOA to WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation), the school under any name is synonymous with torture and impunity.
Named in the manner of the CPT European Convergence, which just held its third annual meeting in May, this gathering will provide an opportunity for CPTers and supporters to connect with one another, gain strength for the long-haul journey to peace with justice, and to reaffirm their commitment to life and creative nonviolent resistance in the face of Empire.
In our efforts to be nimble and flexible during this time of financial constraint, CPT will forgo its traditional biennial Peacemaker Congress in favor of expanding our presence at existing events such as the November gatherings in Georgia.
For more details contact CPT Reservist Beth Pyles (email@example.com).