Father Roy Bourgeois, School Of The Americas Watch Founder02/18/10 Robert Lorei
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Our guest today is Father Roy Bourgeois, M.M., founder of SOA Watch and Nobel Peace Prize nominee. He will speak at Lakewood United Church of Christ, 2601 54th Ave. S. in St. Petersburg, on Friday, Feb. 19, at 7:00 PM.
Fr. Bourgeois founded SOA Watch in 1990 to close the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001 (SOA/WHINSEC).
The SOA/WHINSEC is based at the Fort Benning U.S. Army base in Columbus, GA, and trains Latin American security personnel in counterinsurgency techniques, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. SOA/WHINSEC graduates have been responsible for some of the worst human rights violations in Latin America. In 1998, the Pentagon was forced to release the schoolâ€™s training manuals which advocated torture, extortion, and execution.
Fr. Bourgeois is a Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient. After leaving the Navy, he entered the seminary of the Maryknoll Missionary Order and was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972. Bourgeois worked with the poor in Bolivia for five years before being arrested and forced to leave the country, then under the rule of dictator and SOA/WHINSEC graduate General Hugo Banzer. In 2009, Fr. Bourgeois and SOA Watch were nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.