We were disappointed to see The Post editorial in favor of the U.S. Army School of the Americas [Sept. 15].
Graduates of the so-called school have committed unspeakable atrocities throughout Latin America. Manuel Noriega went to the School of the Americas. So did the men who killed Archbishop Romero as well as 19 of the 26 people implicated in the Jesuit murders in El Salvador. To suggest its presence will somehow rid Latin America of drug lords and insurgents is naive at best.
The Post says the school's training includes a human rights component. Actually, there are no classes on human rights offered at Fort Benning. The school did offer a pilot course in human rights for instructors, but no one has taken it since 1996, and it was offered in Paraguay, not at the School of the Americas.
The editorial implied that atrocities committed by School of the Americas graduates are a thing of the past just because torture techniques have been removed from the training manuals. The fact is the atrocities continue.
Earlier this year, School of the Americas graduate Gen. Rito Alejo del Rijo was removed from military service by the Colombian government because of his role in human rights abuses. Maj. Hernan Castro, another School of the Americas graduate, is under review for his involvement in the massacre of 30 civilian peasants in the Colombian village of Mapiripan. We join Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.), Rep. Bruce Vento (D-Minn.) and Rep. Tom Campbell (R-Calif.) in working to close the school.
U.S. Representative (D-Mass.)
U.S. Representative (R-Fla.)