Saturday, November 17, 2007

Progress in Latin America

Besides hosting the vigil and lobbying the U.S. government, an SOA Watch delegation also travels to Latin American countries asking them to stop sending students to the WHINSEC. So far they have gotten five countries to agree: Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and Bolivia.

I was struck by a comment that Lisa Sullivan Rodriguez, who presented the update on the movement against the SOA from within Latin America, made. She said that at her first SOA protest, her daughter noticed while looking at the crowd that so many people there probably had never been to Latin America and yet she could feel the love for "my people."

A reader, himself a minority, asked me to notice the skin color of the people who attend the protest this year. Yes, the vast majority of people there are white. But as Rodriguez's daughter noted, they can still be in solidarity with people from Latin America.

The reader suggested that the SOA Watch should reach out to more minority communities. But I did find today that the presenters, musicians, and leaders of the movement were quite diverse. Yes, it would be great if the protest reflected the diversity of our country. Until that happens, though, I think it is fair to celebrate all those that are here, as well as all those who are working in other countries and don't have the privilege of coming here and soaking up the energy from other activists--no matter the color of their skin.

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