With pamphlets and peace buttons, bumper stickers and self-published books, the gray-haired veterans and eager young activists at the Veterans For Peace convention in Miami this week are out to educate America on the evils of war.
The national convention began on Wednesday at the Marriott in downtown Miami and is focused on “Liberating the Americas: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean.” Highlights include speeches from author Alice Walker and filmmaker and former TV talk host Phil Donahue. The convention concludes Saturday.
VFP president Leah Bolger explained that as the United States is wrapping up wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, dancing around military engagement with Iran, and starting to pick sides in Syria, these veterans are trying to draw attention to the military mistakes of the past and the perils of fighting undeclared wars. She denounced the “war on drugs” and “war on terror” as a “huge waste of money and just a premise to intervene militarily” all over the world.
The focus on Latin America is also connected to the founding of VFP in 1985 when a group of Vietnam veterans organized to oppose the Reagan administration’s involvement in the civil wars and regime changes in the southern half of the hemisphere. The group has since protested U.S. support of Nicaraguan contras, funding of death squads in El Salvador and training of dictators in Argentina, Brazil and Chile.