The School of the Americas (La escuela de las Américas) (TV Series)

The facility that produced murderers.

The School of the Americas (SOA) is the U.S. Army’s training center founded in 1946. Hidden in plain sight in Columbus, Georgia, it has trained more than sixty thousand soldiers and police, mostly from Latin America.

The purpose of the school is to train military personnel according to the doctrine of national security, whose military tactics include the methods of counter-information, interrogation, psychological warfare, military intelligence and counter-insurgency action. This doctrine is based on torture, assassination, oppression and exploitation.

The school’s counterintelligence manual defined as enemies those who “belonged to trade union organizations”, “distributed propaganda in favor of workers or their interests”, “sympathized with demonstrations or strikes” or even “made accusations about the government’s failure to solve the basic needs of the people”. Ten of Latin America’s most feared dictators have graduated from its classrooms.

This school plays a very significant role in building the U.S. empire. Latin America’s brightest and most ambitious military officers are indoctrinated in a crude worldview of good versus evil, seduced by capitalism and the “American dream”, enlisted as proxies in the war on drugs and “subversion”.

Lesley Gill was given unprecedented access to the School of the Americas. She describes in detail the school’s mission and training methods, and reveals how its students, alumni and officers perceive themselves in relation to the dirty wars that have ravaged Latin America.


RELEVANT DATA: The School of the Americas: Military Training and Political Violence in the Americas brings to light the institutionalization of school-sponsored violence, the havoc it has wreaked in Latin America, and the strategies used by activists who try to cover it all up.

Lesley Gill is an anthropologist and researcher whose work focuses on political violence, gender, free market reforms and human rights in Latin America. She is one of the leading activist voices campaigning for the closure of the School of the Americas. In her investigations she spoke with a retired Colombian general accused by international human rights organizations of terrible crimes, attended classes, accompanied students and their families to a local upscale shopping mall, listened to coca growers in Colombia and Bolivia, talked to activists against the school… and got to the root of the matter.


What the critics have said:

“Lesley Gill’s The School of the Americas is an ambitious book that offers the reader a comprehensive analysis of the School of the Americas, and the effects of SOA training on trainees and two Andean Communities.” Latin American Research Review

“Lesley Gill’s study of the major military training operation in the Americas will provoke a long-awaited debate about the values and limits of U.S. involvement in the region.” Robin Kirk


AUDIOVISUAL POTENTIAL: In development for TV Series format.