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Jerry Zawada is a Catholic priest who believes that no American should be given immunity from defying the will of God. He has called for the closing of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas.
He has joined fellow Catholic priest Roy Bourgeois and tens of thousands of protestors concerned about wars of aggression and reports of torture by the U.S. government and wholly owned subsidiaries.
Critics allege the school's graduates have committed murders, rapes and tortures in Latin America. Military officials deny the charges. According to a United States government spokesperson, the United States does not torture. The protests are timed to coincide with the November 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter in El Salvador. A congressional panel concluded that some of the killers were SOA graduates. "We feel this school is connected to suffering and death for the people of Latin America - a school that is paid for with our tax money," Bourgeois said. "We are saying, 'Not in our name.'
The people of the Americas "are struggling for survival," he said. "They live in shacks without running water, they lack health care, their children died before the age of 4 or 5. They do not need guns. They do not need their soldiers trained in counterinsurgency."