Re: Chiapas and the School of the Americas.

Monte Kay Wagner (mkw5@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Sat, 11 Mar 1995 20:31:19 -0500

I read the news paper article about the School of the Americas with interest.

Nevertheless, you only show one side of the school, and the statistics
mentioned are gruesome but do not reflect the whole picture (for those that
bothered putting them into some relation). The article mentions approx
50,000 graduates of which (in a generous guess) maybe 100 have gained
notoriety in the hemisphere, about 0.002%. The article omits that,
especially in the last 10 years, the curriculum includes a strong human
rights component. Although not an instructor of the Escuela de las
Americas, I have participated on several deployments to teach Latin
American Officers and their troops, and I have kept many of the classes I
have taught in there between 1989 and 92, and several of them base on lesson
plans dated from the early 1980's. In most cases, it was the expressed
directive of the Southern Command to include a strong human rights
component into any curriculum that we applied to our students.

The School of the Americas which was located in Fort Gulick in Panama
until the 1989 overthrow of the Noriega regime has offered training to
Hispanic officers that were sent by their countries, and while every
effort is made to impart a sense of human rights to its graduates it can
no be immediatly held responsible for the actions of its graduates in
their later careers in their own countries. Please note, I am not
condoning their actions nor the ill-fated policies this country has
engaged in (e.g., El Salvador), but to follow the call of a Panamenian
leader who has as much an ax to grind with the US as anybody that does
not approve of all(!!) US policies in the region, is following the rat piper
of Hameln.

BTW, the School of the Americas and the Jungle Operations Training Center
(JOTC) were associated but have never been the same thing.

Monte Wagner