SOA Watch protests WHINSEC at Fort Benning - Local news, weather, sports Savannah | WSAV On Your Side

SOA Watch protests WHINSEC at Fort Benning

Posted: Updated:
COLUMBUS, Ga. -

Once again, thousands of people gathered outside Fort Benning Saturday for the annual School of the Americas Watch protest. The group is calling for the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC. The group claims the school has caused thousands of needless deaths in Latin American countries.

For the 23rd straight year, crowds gathered at Fort Benning taking a moment of silence, and kept outside of the post by security gates to protest the training of foreign soldiers which the group claims has led to genocide in several Latin American countries.

"To think that the training is here in America, and our tax dollars go to something like this. It's just an injustice that we're supporting and a lot of people don't even know that they're supporting it," said JeNay Smith.

The School of the Americas was founded in 1946 but closed in the year 2000 reopening under a new name, WHINSEC, in 2001. Since its resurgence, representatives say the school teaches professional education and leadership development.

"We teach according to U.S. doctrine. We teach information legally, morally, and ethically," said Lee Rials, public affairs at WHINSEC.

But the opposition said they're not buying it.

"You don't teach democracy behind the barrel of a gun. You don't teach democracy behind a fence that says no trespassing," said Roy Bourgeois, founder of the SOA Watch.

The consequences for crossing the gate is a fine or imprisonment but many at the protest are willing to take that risk. Nashua Chantal has been arrested 2 times for crossing over the fence into Fort Benning, but he said it's necessary to promote their message.

"They dig deeper. As well our stories reach around the world and this is why we do it," said Chantal.

Rials at WHINSEC said the school isn't hiding anything and is always open to visit. He said the goal of the program is simple.

"The openness, transparency, and development of relationship both with the U.S. and among countries that are there," said Rials.

The SOA Watch will continue to protest at Fort Benning until WHISEC is closed. Sunday, they will participate in a mock funeral procession to commemorate what they call the victims of U.S. militarism.

Naomi Keitt

Naomi Keitt focuses on education reporting for WRBL News 3. More>>

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 911UPDATE: Ft. Stewart Soldier Hit By Falling Plane, Daughter Critically Injured

    911UPDATE: Ft. Stewart Soldier Hit By Falling Plane, Daughter Critically Injured

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:54:15 GMT
    911 calls tell the story story of what happened before and after the tragic freak accident
    911 calls tell the story story of what happened before and after the tragic freak accident
  • Knoxville meteorologist's response to viewer goes viral

    Knoxville meteorologist's response to viewer goes viral

    A Knoxville meteorologist responded to a viewer’s letter on Facebook because there was no return address, and the post went viral.
    A Knoxville meteorologist responded to a viewer’s letter on Facebook because there was no return address, and the post went viral.
  • Sheriff's Office showcases "Faces of Meth" program as a lesson to all

    Sheriff's Office showcases "Faces of Meth" program as a lesson to all

    Monday, July 21 2014 11:33 AM EDT2014-07-21 15:33:26 GMT
    Faces of Meth™ is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon. This project began when a deputy in the Corrections Division Classification Unit, Deputy Bret King, put together mug shots of persons booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Deputy King worked with his co-workers in the Classification Unit to identify people who had been in custody more than once. He then worked to verify criminal records and files to determine and assure a history of methamphetamine re...
    Faces of Meth™ is a project of the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office in Oregon. This project began when a deputy in the Corrections Division Classification Unit, Deputy Bret King, put together mug shots of persons booked into the Multnomah County Detention Center. Deputy King worked with his co-workers in the Classification Unit to identify people who had been in custody more than once. He then worked to verify criminal records and files to determine and assure a history of methamphetamine re...
  • Continuous News DeskMore>>

  • News 3 Neighbors: 105-year old Carolyn Howard

    News 3 Neighbors: 105-year old Carolyn Howard

    Monday, July 28 2014 9:07 PM EDT2014-07-29 01:07:34 GMT
    Each year in late July folks gather in Fort Mitchell to celebrate the birthday of one of their favorite daughters, Carolyn Howard. Such was the case over the weekend at the Fort Mitchell community center where her birthday party was held. She was smothered in love by those close to her on the occasion of her 105th birthday. If hugs can add years to your life, Mrs. Carolyn has many more to celebrate.I asked her if she enjoyed havingover 100folks love on her. Carolyn's response, "Of yes. You kn...
    Each year in late July folks gather in Fort Mitchell to celebrate the birthday of one of their favorite daughters, Carolyn Howard. Such was the case over the weekend at the Fort Mitchell community center where her birthday party was held. She was smothered in love by those close to her on the occasion of her 105th birthday. If hugs can add years to your life, Mrs. Carolyn has many more to celebrate.I asked her if she enjoyed havingover 100folks love on her. Carolyn's response, "Of yes. You kn...
  • Update: Smiths Station teacher hit by train in good condition

    Update: Smiths Station teacher hit by train in good condition

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:31 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:31:12 GMT
    A Smiths Station High School teacher was hit by a train.A Smiths Station High School teacher was hit by a train.
    A teacher was hit by a train near Smiths Station High School.
    A teacher was hit by a train near Smiths Station High School.
  • Update: Kellogg's plant to close by end of 2015, company responds

    Update: Kellogg's plant to close by end of 2015, company responds

    Monday, July 28 2014 6:11 PM EDT2014-07-28 22:11:13 GMT
    The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to close by the end of 2015.The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to close by the end of 2015.
    The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to be shut down by the end of 2015.
    The Columbus Kellogg's plant is expected to be shut down by the end of 2015.
Powered by WorldNow

1430 East Victory Drive
Savannah, GA 31404

Telephone: 912.651.0300
Fax: 912.651.0320
Email: newsemailalert@wsav.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.