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by James Tweedie
BOLIVIAN President Evo Morales has opened a new “anti-imperialist” military academy intended as the antithesis of the infamous US School of the Americas.
Venezuela and Nicaragua’s defence ministers attended Wednesday’s opening ceremony in the eastern city of Santa Cruz.
“Empires exhibit cultural racism because they do not believe in the popular sovereignty of the people,” Mr Morales said.
Courses will incude the Theory of Imperialism, Geopolitics of Imperialism, Geopolitics of Natural Resources and Bolivian Social Structures and graduates will receive the title General Captain of the Armed Forces.
Also present was Argentinian sociologist Atilio Boron, a “first-class academic” who will teach the first module at the military school.
The new school is named after former president Juan Jose Torres and will enrol 100 students in its first year.
General Torres ran a leftist military regime from 1970 to 1971 when he was deposed in a bloody coup.
He was ater kidnapped and murdered in Argentina in 1976 as part of the CIA-backed Operation Condor wave of political killings across the continent.
The school is intended as a counter to the School of the Americas, now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation, in the US state of Georgia which has trained a who’s who of right-wing death squad leaders since 1946.
Bolivian Defence Minister Reymi Ferreira said the academy would follow an “anti-imperialist doctrine” to help soldiers identify key threats to the country’s national sovereignty.
“The School of Anti-Imperialism is a school that seeks to preserve life, unlike the School of the Americas, which brainwashed military officers into believing that the enemy was our people,” he said.
“It became lawful, proper and normal to kill people.”
Mr Ferreira countered opposition figures who had called the institution’s founding an “excess” on the government’s part.
“As they are accustomed to live on their knees, they forever have the perspective of traitors who consider themselves inferior and subordinate to other powers,” he said.
“It upsets and hurts them, it is too much light for their eyes that we might be sovereign and independent.”
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