|Udu-Gama (left) and Bourgeois (center front) under arrest at border.|
SOAW delegates revealed this weekduring their visit that Julian Leyzaola Perez, the controversial Chief of Police in Ciudad Juarez, is himself a graduate of the School of the Americas. The School of the Ameicas, now renamed WHINSEC, is a U.S. military school located in Ft. Benning, GA specifically to train Latin American military leaders. Activists have evidence that the U.S. taxpayer-funded school trains its graduates in torture techniques which they then use against their own citizens.
At least a third of the original Zeta cartel, the most notorious of all criminal organizations, were trained at the SOA, as have thousands of Latin American soldiers, including 4,000 Mexican military. Policies of militarization and oppression continue ot lead to the deaths of thousands of Latin Americans, as the death count nears 10,000 in Ciudad Juarez alone during the last five years.
Vigilers met at the Anapra fence in Sunland Park, New Mexico this morning at 10 AM and walked to the end of the fence, near the base of Mount Cristo Rey. There SOAW delegates performed a street drama in which Bourgeois and Udu-Gama crossed into Mexico, later reappearing and reentering the United States side of the border. It is an infraction to enter the U.S. other than at a designated port of entry.
Fickr set: Images of the vigil and action
The protest highlighted U.S. military and police aid that continues to flow into Mexico and the continued expenditure of millions more on walls, fences and the militarization of the border. Meanwhile thousands flee violence in Mexico and Latin American countries, a flight that results in death for untold numbers.
Officials arrested the two activists as the event ended. This short video documents their apprehension: