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February 1, 2006

THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS

The School of the Americas has been a source of controversy for years. It was founded in 1946 on an American military base in Panama but left that country in 1984 after many of its graduates, including former President Manuel Noriega, were accused of trafficking in drugs and establishing brutal military dictatorships. It relocated to Fort Benning, Ga., and has, over the course of its existence, trained about 60,000 Latin American soldiers.

The school's graduates have been linked to a number of atrocities, among the most notable the rape and murder of the four Maryknoll sisters, the 1980 murder of El Salvador's Archbishop Oscar Romero, and the assassination of six Jesuit priests in 1989, also in El Salvador.

The school, recently renamed, now teaches human rights in its curriculum.

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