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School of the Americas

The School of the Americas (SOA) was established in 1946 as the Latin American Training Center at Fort Gulick, Panama. Opened during the Cold War, its purpose was to train Latin American soldiers to fight against communist insurrection. The SOA is notorious for training several of the soldiers who took part in atrocities during the 1980s and 1990s in countries such as El Salvador and Argentina. In 2000, the SOA technically ceased to exist; in its place was established the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001, on the same campus with the same overall goals but with a new and publicly stated emphasis on respecting human rights. This entry examines the history as well as the present-day condition of this controversial military ...

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