SOA Graduate Takes Control of Security in Michoacán, Mexico

Screen Shot 2015-01-24 at 3.16.26 PMPosted in El Enemigo Comun

By Simón Sedillo

Alfredo Castillo, the federal envoy in charge of security for the State of Michoacán since January 2014 has stepped down and is being replaced by General Pedro Felipe Gurrola Ramírez, a US Army School of the America’s (SOA) graduate. The School of the Americas is notorious for training a wide variety of infamous military officials from all over Latin America in strategies and tactics which include but are not limited to torture, coercion, kidnapping, rape, murder, mutilations, massacres, mass media manipulation, political manipulation, and paramilitarism. In 1989, religious based faith groups and concerned individuals created the School of the America’s Watch, an organization that has outspokenly opposed the SOA, demanded the release of the names of individuals trained at the school, and exposed a number of atrocities and crimes committed by SOA graduates throughout Latin America.

In 2002 the SOA changed its name to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation and has continued to function as a primary US based military training camp for Latin American soldiers. Mexico has had over 1700 military personnel trained at the school between 1955 and 2003. Due to the diligent work of SOA Watch, the names and courses taken by these 1700 Mexican military personnel have all been made public; however, names of trainees after 2003 continue to be withheld from the public. The last attempt to release names between 2003 and the present was shut down by the Obama administration.

Among those listed as trainees are 18 top Mexican military personnel trained at the SOA who are still on active duty, including General Pedro Felipe Gurrola Ramírez. Another infamous Mexican general trained at the SOA is General Jose Ruben Rivas Peña, who is primarily responsible for the creation of militarily trained civilian paramilitary organizations in the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca, and Guerrero. Of these paramilitary organizations, armed civilian death squads were created to confront the Zapatista National Liberation Army and their civilian support base communities, resulting in several ongoing confrontations, the worst of which was the 1997 massacre of unarmed civilians at a church in Acteal, Chiapas, Mexico. CONTINUE READING

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