[News] Venezuelan Police University Campaigns against School of the Americas

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Thu Dec 19 15:22:22 EST 2013

  Venezuelan Police University Campaigns against School of the Americas

Dec 17, 2013

By Tamara Pearson

Merida, 17^th December 2013 (Venezuelanalysis.com) -- Venezuela's 
National Experimental University for Security (UNES), which trains 
police in human rights and preventative policing, has launched a two 
month, nationwide campaign against the US run School of the Americas (SOA).

Pablo Fernandez, head of curriculum development at the university, said 
that it was a "campaign of solidarity with Latin American movements that 
are working to close the School of the Americas... which represents, for 
the whole American continent, one of the most perverse expressions of 
what used to be the doctrine of national security".

Launched at the start of this month, the campaign includes forums with 
activists and academics, film showings of the documentary The School of 
the Americas: School of Murderers, a concert "for peace and closing the 
School of the Americas"-- organised with the National Front of 
Rebellious Bands and other musical groups, and postcards signed by 
people in favour of closing the school, to be handed over to the US 
embassy and the head offices of the UN and the OAS in Venezuela.

The campaign aims to raise UNES students' and the general public's 
awareness of the origin, historical objectives, and actions of the SOA.

"This proposal that came from the UNES, has been taken on and supported 
by President Nicolas Maduro and foreign minister Elias Jaua, so that it 
can grow into a national campaign, involving other universities, other 
social movements... so that all of Venezuela can say enough repression, 
enough interference, never again such human rights violations in Latin 
America, nor anywhere in the world," Fernandez said.

"The School of the Americas has obliged our soldiers and military to 
create a distortion of the reality of our homeland and to betray her. At 
this school they train different Latin Americans to be traitors... so we 
should close this school for the sake of peace, life, and love of our 
homeland," said Eduy Ramirez, at a UNES anti-SOA event in Aragua state.

He said the UNES in Aragua-Carabobo would work with the newly elected 
mayor of Linares Alcantara municipality, Alexis Zamora, "for peace and 
life". The UNES in Aragua state has 1263 students studying policing and 
criminology, and 98 teachers.

At a film showing in the UNES of Anozoategui state, of We Are One 
America, director of the university, Damian Mas, stated, "We want to 
internationalise our university so that brothers [sic] from different 
ally countries can come here and ... receive a humanist education, one 
that is respectful of human rights."

UNES-Anzoategui student, Rene Ortiz said, "The difference between both 
schools is that the School of the Americas belongs to the old policing 
model that sought to repress, humiliate, and mistreat, while the UNES 
trains students under the new preventative model of citizen security, in 
order to lower the levels of violence and insecurity".

The SOA is a US military combat training school for Latin American 
soldiers based in Fort Benning, Georgia.

"It's run by the US army, and has trained military and police since the 
1940s... the majority of the dictatorships, disappearances, and coups 
[in Latin America] have been organised by SOA graduates. President 
Chavez ordered that Venezuela stop sending soldiers to the SOA in 2004, 
and since then, six other countries have followed suit," Lisa Sullivan 
of SOA Watch told Venezuelanalysis.com.

The SOA, renamed as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security 
Cooperation in 2001, sends US instructors to Chile, Colombia, and 
Paraguay to train their soldiers, while a range of countries send their 
soldiers to the school in the US. Those countries which sent the most in 
2012 were Colombia with 836 soldiers, Chile (162), and Honduras (93).

Since it was founded, the SOA has trained over 61,000 Latin American 
soldiers in combat techniques, military intelligence, and torture 

The UNES was founded in 2009 in order to train the new national 
Venezuelan police force with new methodology and values. The university 
aims to recreate the role of police from a community perspective and to 
transform the power relationship between police and society.

The university also has a strong focus on human rights, crime 
prevention, financing research on issues related to delinquency as well 
as on expanding police officers' role in addressing the social causes of 
crime. Many of the university's teachers specialise in libratory 
education and leftwing politics.

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