I would be remiss to not mention that this past weekend Catholics and other peace activist gathered in Columbus, Georgia for the annual School of the Americas/Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation protest.
This year a cloud must have hung over the protest with the news that the Vatican plans to excommunicated SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois for giving the homily at a Women Priests ordination (see an interview with him in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution ). On one hand, this should bring more publicity to the SOAW movement, but on the other hand, it might denigrate the movement in the eyes of more conservative groups.
Still, there was probably some hope for the SOAW supporters with the 2008 election. I reported last year that the only two presidential candidates to support closing of WHINSEC (the school's name was changed from SOA to WHINSEC in 2000) was Dennis Kucinich and Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney. But the president-elect does want to improve the image of the United States, specifically in regard to torture. Also, the SOAW was 6 votes from cutting funding from the school last time the issue was brought up in Congress, and this month's election brought in legislators that could be convinced to cut the school's funding. It'll be an interesting issue to watch in the coming year.
If you attended the protest and vigil, I'd love to hear what you thought of the atmosphere this year.