Leading opponent of School of the Americas to speak at Fairfield University


Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Vietnam veteran and a leading opponent of the School of the Americas which trains Central American soldiers at a U.S. military facility in Georgia, will speak at Fairfield University on Tuesday, April 13, at 8 p.m., in the School of Nursing Auditorium.

Fr. Bourgeois is an ordained Catholic priest and a member of the Maryknoll Missionary order who worked with the poor of Bolivia before becoming involved in 1980 in El Salvador, following the murder of four U.S. churchwomen by Salvadoran soldiers. He has been an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy in Central America for the last 15 years. He spent three of those years in U.S. federal prisons for nonviolent protests against the training of Salvadoran soldiers at the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Ga.

In 1990, Fr. Bourgeois founded the School of the Americas Watch to inform the general public and media about the implications of this military training on the poor of Latin America. In 1994 his work on a documentary film about the School, entitled "School of Assassins," resulted in an Academy Award nomination.

The School was created in 1946 by the U.S. government to train Latin American military personnel in counter-insurgency techniques, including the methods and theory of torture. Father Bourgeois and his followers contend that graduates of the School of the Americas have been involved in some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America and include many of its most notorious dictators. Graduates of the School have been particularly brutal, they claim, in El Salvador, where they were involved in the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, the 1980 rape and murder of four American church women, and the 1989 murder of six Jesuit priests and their two co-workers.

The lecture is free and the public is welcome.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on April 1, 1999

Vol. 31, No. 260