The Miami Herald
September 24, 1999
Funding approved for Army school linked to rights atrocities

 WASHINGTON -- (AP) -- Congressional negotiators agreed Wednesday to provide
 full funding next year for the School of the Americas, rejecting last summer's
 House vote to slash the budget of the controversial Army school in Georgia.

 Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said the House conferees on the fiscal 2000 foreign
 operations spending bill voted to accept the Senate's position that provided $2
 million in the State Department budget to pay the expenses of Latin American
 soldiers who attend the school at Fort Benning.

 While the action will not become final until the conference on the entire bill is
 concluded, Kingston said the section covering funding for the school has been
 closed and cannot be reopened.

 ``The School of the Americas is in there,'' he said. ``It's survived another year.''

 The House voted 230-197 last summer to eliminate the $2 million in training funds
 after opponents of the school argued that many of its graduates had been linked
 to human rights atrocities in Latin America. The school had survived four previous
 House votes since 1993.

 The school has been the target of a decadelong campaign by religious activists
 upset that graduates of the school were linked to the 1989 murders of six Jesuit
 priests and two women in El Salvador.

 The Rev. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who has spearheaded the campaign
 against the school, said the conference committee action Wednesday won't slow
 the campaign.

 ``We are not going away,'' he said. ``We're going to keep coming back to
 Washington and to the main gate of Fort Benning in greater and greater numbers
 every year until that school is shut down.''

 The House conferees voted 8-7 to recede to the Senate position.

 Kingston said the House agreed to go along with continued funding for the school
 because members of the foreign operations spending panel did not want to lose
 jurisdiction over the school, which also receives funding from the Defense
 Department budget.

                     Copyright 1999 Miami Herald