Father Roy Bourgeois, founder of the School of the Americas Watch, testified last December at the extradition case for former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. In his testimony, Bourgeois discussed the SOA and his interactions with Latin American groups working to bring Pinochet to justice. While Pinochet is not an SOA graduate, a sword and a personal message from the former dictator are on display at the school.
For his work with the SOA Watch, Bourgeois was presented in January with the 1999 Issac Hecker Award for Social Justice by the Paulist Center in Boston. Past winners of the award include Dorothy Day, CTsar Chßvez, and Sister Helen Prejean.
In other SOA news, the Guatemalan Truth Commission reported that the SOA played a key role in the training of the Guatemalan military apparatus that orchestrated the genocide campaign against the countrys Mayan civilian population. Kidnappings, torture, and murder left 200,000 dead during the countrys 36-year civil war.