Recently Jesus and I connected with the folks at the ¡Presente!, the newspaper of the movement to close the School of the Americas (formerly known as the SOA Watch Update). Check out the use of our artwork for the cover of the Summer issue which would put the civil society organizing of the Zapatistas and the people who struggle in Atenco – the solution – on the forefront instead of featuring the drug war smokescreen.
Content of the Summer 2009 issue of Presente:
This issue deals with the roots of the drug war currently raging in Mexico. Ana Esther Ceceña, a key organizer in the international Anti-Militarization networks, wrote an insightful article for ¡Presente!. The cover design was created by Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes, two artist-activists who work to foster a resurgence in the screen-printing medium for social change. Instead of focusing on the violence of the SOA and the drug war, their image portrays a woman from Atenco and a Zapatista, representing Mexico’s powerful social movements. The grassroots struggles in Mexico that are proposing real alternatives to the racist system of violence and neoliberal domination are largely muted in the current Mexico coverage in the mainstream media. At the same time, the Mexican military is using the cover of the drug war to repress indigenous movements in southern Mexico …
Also in this issue, SOA Watch council member Andy Kafel reports back from election observations in El Salvador and discusses the significant electoral victory of the FMLN when their candidate, Mauricio Funes, won the presidency on March 15, 2009. Adam Kufeld took amazing photos during the FMLN election campaign, that accompany Andy’s article. We share information about the six SOA Watch prisoners of conscience who were sentenced earlier this year to prison and house arrest for their nonviolent direct actions to close the SOA/WHINSEC. And SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator Pam Bowman compiles detailed information about the upcoming congressional vote to de-fund the School of the Americas — exciting especially because the last bill (in 2007) lost by a margin of only six votes. This time around, we’ll need all hands on deck and together we’ll have to rededicate our efforts to win the vote. SOA Watch-DC organizer Vera Leone conducted an interview with Black Freedom movement activist Ruby Sales, who founded and directs the Spirit House Project, currently based in Columbus, Georgia. In their frank conversation, Ruby Sales and Vera Leone talk about police execution of Black men in the United States as a means of social control, the similarities to death squads in Latin America and about the history of state violence against oppressed peoples in general. Ruby Sales also raises the lack of recognition of the connections between repression inside the United States and in Latin America on the part of white people in the Latin America Solidarity movement.