Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Today's the Day to Shut Down the School of the Americas! PLEASE: Call, Fax, E-mail Your Congressperson!

From SOA WatchUrgent Action Alert! June 20, 2007
Congress Votes on a Funding Cut to the SOA/WHINSEC Today and We are Close to Winning!

Take Action - Call your Representative to ask her/him to
Vote YES on the SOA/WHINSEC Amendment Now!

As early as this afternoon, Representatives Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and John Lewis of Georgia will introduce an amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill to cut funding for the School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC)! Tomorrow, this weekend, and next week you can relax, but we need you to make calls and send faxes NOW, even if you have already made a call. House Representatives often make decisions based on the volume of calls, so let's all call our Representatives and even call a few more!

The vote will happen today, possibly as late as 9 or 10 p.m. Keep an eye out for another email from SOA Watch - we'll let you know as soon as debate begins. You should be able to view or listen to that House debate on C-Span. (At the bottom of the page, click on "Live Stream")

It's very important that you continue to contact Congress today through telephone calls and faxes to let Members know they have constituents who support human rights and the closing of the SOA/ WHINSEC. See below for a sample script.

It only takes a minute! (Be sure to click the "Send a Fax" box to have the fax sent)Call Congress at 202-224-3121 Now!Please take a few minutes today to call the DC office of your Representative through the Capitol Hill Switchboard at 202-224-3121. Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative assistant. Calls to the DC office of your Representative are the most effective tool to make sure your voice is heard this week, so please take the time to call your Representative! We are hearing that the volume of calls you are making is overloading the House Switchboard number so if you cannot get through, please call their office directly. You can look up their phone number by accessing the Clerk of the House phone directory and note that all phone numbers have a "202" area code. Keep the calls coming and make a call every few hours before the vote happens on Wednesday afternoon!!!Here is a suggested message for you to convey:

"I am calling Representative ________ to urge her/him to vote YES on the McGovern amendment to the Foreign Operations Appropriations bill. This amendment is a cut in funding for the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC. New information indicates that WHINSEC has allowed known human rights abusers to instruct and receive training at the school. The governments of Costa Rica, Argentina and Uruguay have made public announcements they will no longer send students to the school, citing the negative image and history of this institution. Voting YES on this amendment sends a positive human rights message to Latin America and will help to improve the U.S. image abroad. As an elected official in Washington D.C., I hope you will represent me and vote YES on any amendment in the House that would cut funding for the school."

It's been a year since our last vote in Congress, and it's the work of so many people struggling for justice in the Americas that has gotten us to where we are today.

DON'T SLOW DOWN NOW! We are so close.