Join the Fight to Shut Down the ILEA and the SOA- Demand that CISPES be allowed to visit the ILEA!

News
CISPES Action Alert - April 26, 2007
 
Inlate March, representatives of SOA Watch and CISPES visited the InternationalLaw Enforcement Academy (ILEA) in SanSalvador, the first international visit of the newfacility. The School of the Americas (SOA) is the notorious training ground forLatin American human rights abusers, and people in El Salvador have denounced the ILEAas an extension of the SOA and a possible replacement should the SOA be shutdown. What the delegation heard from US officials at the ILEA a refusal torelease the names of those training at the ILEA, an openness to the possibilityof training military personnel in the future, and the stated goal of making Latin America safe for foreign investment increasedconcerns about the US-sponsored police academy. CISPES and our Salvadoranpartners had already denounced the 2005 agreement to build the ILEA in El Salvador given the history of US training inthe region; now, we recognize more than ever the need to shut down the facilitybefore it becomes another Schoolof Assassins!"

Includedin President Bushs Foreign Operations budget request this year is $16.5million for five worldwide ILEAs; the Foreign Operations Appropriations billmay be voted on in Congress as early as mid-May, though its more likely thevote will come in June. Part of the ILEA budget will go towards theconstruction of the permanent facility of the Salvadoran ILEA (for moreinformation, see www.cispes.org/ilea). U.S. agenciessuch as the FBI, DEA, and ICE (the immigration authority under Homeland Security)have sent instructors to lead ILEA classes and much of the focus so far hasbeen on fighting gangs and organized crime, including classes onanti-terrorism. The Salvadoran government passed anti-terrorismand organized crime laws recently which expand the reach of police andmilitary, create special tribunals for expediting convictions, and clamp downon common forms of protest such as street blockades and building occupations.


CISPEShas documented a series of human rightsabuses and political attacks over the last 2 years thathave yet to be investigated by the Salvadoran authorities. The installation ofthe ILEA legitimizes the activities of ElSalvadors corrupt National Civilian Police (PNC) andrepresents a continuation of U.S.influence in El Salvadorssecurity apparatus. In the 1980s, the UnitedStates backed the countrys brutal military with directarms support; now the U.S.government backs the repressive and corrupt police force through the ILEA andcontinued military training at the SOA. Based on the U.S.srecord of training security forces in Latin America and the recent history ofrising repression by the government and the PNC, we will not wait forUS-sponsored right-wing death squads to return to El Salvador. We demand the closingof the ILEA and the SOA!

Take Action!

1. Callyour Congressional representative through the Capitol Hill switchboard[202-224-3121] and ask that they send aletter requesting that CISPES be able to visit the ILEA in San Salvador during its May Day delegation. See below for sample letter.

2.Demand that your Representative vote foran amendment to cut funding for the ILEA! Seebelow for talking points.

3. Thisweek SOA Watch is carrying out a 3-day fast demanding the closure of the Schoolof the Americas.Join the fast and find out more information at http://soaw.org/index.php

**Download ILEA outreachand lobby materials at www.cispes.org/ilea**

 

Sample letter forCongressional Reps to send to the SanSalvador ILEA

Javier Jaquez
Deputy Director
International Law Enforcement Academy San Salvador
El Salvador
FAX: 503-2208-8533

April 26, 2007

Dear Mr. Jaquez,

I am writing on behalf of CISPES(Committee in Solidarity with the People of El Salvador), a grassrootsorganization that is active in my Congressional district. 16 members of thisorganization will be traveling to El Salvadorfrom April 27-May 6as part of a delegation of CISPESrepresentatives from around the UnitedStates. This delegation will beinvestigating various economic, social and human rights issues in El Salvador.This letter is to request that this delegation be granted an opportunity tomeet with you at the current facilities of the International Law EnforcementAcademy South in El Salvadorin order to learn about the operations, coursework, and future plans of theILEA.

CISPES representatives have met with mystaff to update me on various issues and to inform me that a branch of the ILEAhad opened in San Salvador.I remain keenly interested in U.S.foreign policy initiatives in El Salvadorand look forward to receiving a report from CISPES members upon their returnfrom El Salvador.To this end, please allow time in your schedule to meet with the CISPESdelegation while it is in the country. I would also appreciate receiving anydocumentation related to the ILEAs operations and coursework. Such documentscan be sent back with CISPES representatives or sent directly to myoffice.

Thank you for your attention.

Sincerely,



ILEA Talking Points more information at www.cispes.org/ilea

Cut Fundingfor the InternationalLaw EnforcementAcademy (ILEA). El Salvador is already the second largest recipientof military training in Central America, is the host of a U.S. military base atthe Comalapa airport, and in early 2005 an FBI office was opened in SanSalvador. The ILEA has the capacity to train 1500 students per year, more thanthe current Western Hemisphere Institute for Security and Cooperation, alsoknown as the SOA. Salvadorans fear a return to the sort of torture andrepression practices used by the graduates of that US-sponsored school in the1980s. More surveillance does not make Salvadorans safer; it threatens dailylife and the right to protest!

Background Information

* Resurgenceof death squad-style threats and murders: Beginning withthe July murder of the Manzanares couple, the parents of long-time activistMariposa, threats and assaults on activists have been increasing. Deaththreats have been sent to SETA, the water workers union; two FMLN activists havemurdered in Coatepeque; Rev. Antonio Romero was murdered in September; andstudent activist and son of well known FMLN activist Luis Edgardo Osorto Gomezwas disappeared for 8 days. There arealso two youth that remain missing: Jose Omar Chavez, son of a historiccommunity organizer, who has been missing since July 8, 2005, and FranciscoContreras, a youth activist who has been missing since February 6 of thisyear. In both cases, their families haveevidence that leads many people to believe the police and/or death squads wereinvolved in their disappearances, but their calls for investigation have fallenon deaf ears. These political attacksare reminiscent of the intimidation tactics used in the 80s, and we call forimmediate investigation of this repression!

* ARENA ismilitarizing the police, which is a direct violation of the Peace Accords. The separation between police and military in El Salvador has declined dramatically sinceoriginally established by Peace Accords in El Salvador. It is now common tohave groups of soldiers patrolling rural and urban neighborhoods in El Salvador,something that current President Saca has promoted. ElSalvadors National Civilian Police, or PNC, was createdby the 1992 Peace Accords to do the work of law enforcement in El Salvador.However, the PNC has increasingly been used to violently repress protests in El Salvador,especially the protests against the CAFTA free trade agreement.

* New LawCriminalizes Organizing: The Salvadoran right wing passed ananti-terrorism law in September. Thelanguage in this new law is very vague, therefore incredibly open tointerpretation and application. The anti-terrorism law is similar to thePatriot Act in that it threatens civil liberties supposedly protected by theconstitution of El Salvador. The USAmbassador to El Salvadoreven expressed explicit support for this law in a recent speech, condoning theuse of police force in protecting US trade interests.

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