Santiago, March 23, 2012

Sr. Sebastián Piñera
President of Chile

Dear Sir,

A delegation of activists from the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW), in the United States, has been in Chile from March 16th to March 23rd with the intention of understanding the reality of the country and at the same time demand its government put an end to sending Chilean soldiers to the School of the Americas. 

In this vein, the SOAW delegation has held a meeting with the Minister of Defense, Andrés Allamand, together with the School of the Americas Watch in Chile, and we have had the opportunity to propose our reasons for asking that the sending of Chilean soldiers to the military academy in question does not continue.


Foto: Claudio Rojas (CODEPU)

If it is in fact true, the argument is that the School of the Americas no longer exists, but instead WHINSEC, yet it continues operating in the same place, with the same instructors, and the same purpose it was founded with, to promote the Doctrine of National Security, the ideological base justifying human rights violations such as assassinations, torture, kidnapping, and others. 

Chile has sent more than 3800 soldiers to the School of the Americas and in the last decade, an average of 190 soldiers each year, mostly cadets in the Military School. We should remember that Manuel Contreras, Álvaro Corbalán, Miguel Krassnoff, just to name a few of the most prominent Chilean assassins and torturers, have passed through this place. 

Currently, Colombia is the main country sending soldiers to the School of the Americas, and it is in this country that where there are compromised State agents, grave human rights violations are registered, as diverse United Nations reports point out. 

On the other hand, the SOA delegation has met with human rights groups, memory sites, Human Rights Observers, workers, lawyers, students and Mapuche, in Santiago as well as Valparaíso, and they have concluded that unfortunately in Chile, the legitimate right to social protest is being repressed. 

We have received the testimonies of the Mapuche Lonko, Juan Carlos Curnao, whose legs still carry pellets shot by the police, and of the student Sofía Antilef who was beaten by police in a student mobilization. These testimonies represent many others allowing us to ask that measures are taken to stop police violence. 

In the same way, at the request of Chilean organizations, the U.S. lawyer Kent Spriggs traveled to Aysen this last Thursday as an Observer, to catch up to speed on the situation being lived by people in this region. 

This March 24th we remember, in El Salvador, Mr. President, the assassination of Monseñor Oscar Romero, assassinated by graduates of the School of the Americas, we ask in his words, and with respect, “in the name of God: End the repression.”


Delegation School of the Americas Watch

SOA Watch: Oficina América Latina / Calle 34 No. 18-70 - Apartado Postal 437 - Barquisimeto, Lara, VENEZUELA - Teléfono: 58-416-607-0972